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Duran Duran @ The NEC Arena
Reviewed by Kate Stewart, site user

Duran Duran -Site user Kate Stewart was a "fringe Duranie" in the 80s. Have the fab five still got the magic?

FACT-FILE

• Duran Duran are: Nick Rhodes (keyboard), John Taylor (bass), Roger Taylor (drums), Andy Taylor (guitar) and Simon LeBon (vocals).

• All of the band, except Simon Le Bon, were born in the West Midlands.

• The name 'Duran Duran' came from a character in dodgy 1960s sci-fi film Barbarella.

• Four Duran Duran fans are going to every date in the 2004 UK tour... in a Kia Rio because Duran Duran had a song called Rio. Oh dear.

Duran Duran
25/04/04 NEC Arena - Birmingham

At a little past 8.45pm, five figures appeared on stage and walked slowly to the front arms by their side. Lit mainly from behind with just enough front lighting to see their faces and silhouettes, they stood there motionless; the statement was obvious, they were back and meant business.

The crowd were going wild and there was an aura of respect rippling through the crowd. The lump in my throat and the tingling in my spine told me that I had made the right decision to come. It was the quietest and yet most powerful entrance I have ever witnessed by a band and it was the start of a night of pure entertainment.

Through a plethora of hits, some more recognisable than others to "fringe Duranies" like myself, they entertained the masses. Even during the slower songs, the crowd watched in awe rather than turning to chat as seen so often during badly chosen ballads. Acknowledging the more contemporary issues Mr le Bon asked us to "hold up lighters" during such a tune "if we still smoked" but if not then to "use the lights on our mobile phones" and we did.

It was a sign that times had changed since the band first hit the charts with these songs and yet it felt as though the 30-40-something crowd were at this point 15-20-somethings transported back two decades. Their smiling faces filled with youthful excitement and pleasure at being close to probably some of the biggest stars of their adolescence.

Without a doubt the best performance of the night was of "Ordinary World" belted out by SLB with as much feeling as the day it was first recorded. It obviously had a personal significance to him as he dedicated it to a dear departed friend but this was as much a tribute to the fans that had kept with them as a friend he had lost.

The high energy numbers such as "Wild Boys" and "The Reflex" send the crowds into spasms of delight as we all leapt around punching the air at appropriate moments forgetting our grown up jobs and mature lifestyles, once again we were Britain's youth full of hopes and expectations of what life would bring.

And I suppose that is why we all love Duran Duran, they remind us of happier times when we cared more about hairspray and cans of cider than mortgages and pensions. When the five (now maturing) men were gods and we were mere mortals and yet somehow the years had bought us all closer together.

During that two hours we all shared the memories of twenty years ago, the school disco era when this music was what we grew up to, what we sang to in the mirror with our hairbrush microphones and probably what we had our first kiss to.

Funny, they seemed less untouchable than I remember and somehow more like us. Perhaps it was the way that John Taylor looked embarrassed every time the women screamed at him or maybe it was because like us they all looked a bit older and heavier.

Perhaps being back in their hometown helped? A home fixture is always the easiest. But I think the reason that they were so brilliant was that they always were and - like the finest wines - they got better with age.

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