Duran Duran Fun Fun
The good-time band spreads joy in excess, kicking off Canadian tour.
AMY CARMICHAEL, CP 2005-03-21 02:07:52
VANCOUVER -- Skipping euphorically on the sidewalk, mesmerized by the way sun illuminates glitter jelly shoes and head-to-toe neon, listening to Duran Duran. The band was the soundtrack to so many good days in the 80s.
Twenty years later they are back, bathing the post-9/11 world in a warm glow of pop.
"Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow, it might be good," said frontman Simon LeBon, shining a full-tooth grin as he swirled red wine around his glass.
With new songs like (Reach Up for the) Sunrise, Taste the Summer, Want You More!, Nice and What Happens Tomorrow, the self-described fab five want to remind their faithful fans how to have the kind of unapologetic fun they still enjoy.
Is it still about the yachts, girls in bikinis and high-priced, vintage bottles for Duran Duran?
"Yes, but mainly it's drugs and designer clothes. It's all about excess," deadpan bassist John Taylor told a news conference before the band's Vancouver performance March 4, which, kicked off its first Canadian tour in decades.
Being in the city reminded LeBon of a particularly excessive July 1982 night in Vancouver when the band played the Commodore Ballroom.
Snippets swirled about what Duran Duran got up to after the gig with heavy metal band Girls School, which was also putting on a show that night.
"We ended up in somebody's apartment. It was a really, really nice apartment overlooking the sea and it just went on and on and on . . .
"And that's all the details you're going to get," cackled Taylor, cutting him off.
The boys still like to play, but they are getting older (yes, they're so well dressed and flirty it's hard to believe). They're worrying now about the mess the world is becoming and what they might be leaving behind for their children.
Musically, things are OK. The bands their kids listen to, such as Franz Ferdinand, the Killers and No Doubt are forever praising Duran Duran and citing the band as a major influence.
"The first crop of bands that grew up in the '80s are coming up now and it's really nice to see the sound reflected through a new generation," said Nick Rhodes.
Nice, but what does it matter when children are growing up in fear that the Third World War is about to break out, he said.
Duran Duran thought they better write a song and ask everyone to calm down, asking them to think about What Happens Tomorrow.
"It's about not living in fear in this world where everyone would have you scared of something. Maybe they feel it sells things, security systems, a government, a way of thinking, an ethos," said LeBon.
"The newspapers and TV are full of it, and that can be very frightening to a small child."
What Happens Tomorrow came together just as bombs were about to fall on Baghdad, when LeBon said he could feel hysteria pulsing through around the world like a noose.
"We just thought, hey, cool down. Have some hope. Have some hope that good will win out in the end," said the man with a soft spot for velvet.
He asked a young boy he met one day what he thought of weapons and chaos flickering constantly on TV. The little boy shrugged and said "Who knows what will happen tomorrow," meaning, said LeBon, that it might turn out better than expected, even OK.
The band was so impressed by his optimism that the fab five infused it throughout their first CD featuring the original lineup in 25 years.
People seemed to be waiting for Duran Duran to come back, part the clouds and lead them into the womb of '80s decadence where everybody's a rising star and the party never ends.
Their new single (Reach Up for the) Sunrise reached No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Charts and became a Top 5 smash nearly all over the world.
The song is simply infectious, while the midtempo jam What Happens Tomorrow reminded fans at the triumphant Vancouver show of the band's last monster hit, Ordinary World.
"Their new songs mix so well with the old stuff," songs like Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf, said uber-fan Dawn Teasdale, that they drew her to the Vancouver show like a magnet.
"Now I have to buy the new album," she said, not wanting to lose that feeling of endless possibility inspired by Grade 8 sock hops and Duran Duran.
REMAINING CANADIAN DATES
Toronto - April 5, Air Canada Centre,
Montreal - April 6, Bell Centre
Courtesy The London Free Press