Duran Duran in a Rocking Night Close to Immaculate
by Alexis Sebastian Mendez
I must begin by saying that, even though I identify strongly with the 80's generation, I have never shared the enthusiasm for the band Duran Duran (I find most of their songs - for example "The Reflex"and "Wild Boys"- extremely silly).
I also have very little tolerance to wait without explanation, so having to wait 67 minutes above the announced time put me on a state of bad temper. If waiting for something that you desire develops your patience, waiting for something that you feel indifference generates certain level of anger.
I wanted to anticipate all of this so you can imagine how I was feeling before the concert of the British group Duran Duran, that took place last Tuesday evening at the Puerto Rico Coliseum. Now imagine the quality that this show had for me to acknowledge this as one of the best rock concerts that I have attended in our country.
Duran Duran have visited the island previously, but this is the first time that they perform here with their original members.
The band was formed in 1978, taking their name from a villain in the absurd sci fi movie "Barbarella" (now is very hard to watch the film and hear that their is a character named "Duran Duran". The group was one of the pioneers of the so called New Wave, and they took advantage of the growth of MTV in the beginning of the 80's to become icons of the new musical medium.
After four years of success, the group disbanded, reaching a point in time when they only had two of the original members. Despite the evolution of popular music, Duran Duran has always stayed alive and active, even when they were only a small crumble of their glory days.
The original quintet is together again, they have a new album on the market ("Astronaut"), and they begin a world tour this month. Tuesday's concert, where Duran Duran performed for 108 minutes, close to twenty of their songs, which demonstrated why this group deserved to survive many difficulties and to keep the loyalty of their fans.
The band began with the song "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise" from their new album "Astronaut." Even though this song was unknown to me, it has the sound elements of the group. The public was very pleased to greet the band and held on through the less known songs, although later on showed more interest for the classic hits. I noticed that when the band performed songs from the new album (like "Chains"), some people stood up for a break.
If the public was euphoric during the first two songs that they were still familiarizing with, the third song seem to describe the mood of the people present. "Hungry Like The Wolf" really energized all the fans. The same reaction repeated with "Union of the Snake", "The Reflex", "Wild Boys" and "Save a Prayer" (one of the highlights of the night).
The band reinforced their sound with a saxophone player that excelled through many of the songs and a back up singer who displayed her talent during "I Don't Want Your Love". Both guests were shining during "Notorious" with a surprising arrangement that included a medley of the disco hit "We Are Family".
Not all the experiments worked. Duran Duran's attempt to do hip-hop seemed to me like an "air-pocket" on a night close to immaculate. Fortunately, the rest of the show was so sensational that the small slip was tolerated until the next song.
The band's performance was simply sensational. The lights and the sound worked without problems, and two big screens over the stage projected thunder, planets, anime, women silhouettes and other images, an adequate addition - even necessary - to honor the band's past as key figure of the development of of the modern music video.
Other numbers, like "Planet Earth", "Sing Blue Silver" (The Chauffeur), and "Ordinary World " in particular, were great, but the band saved the best for the encore. The closing with "Girls on Film" and "Rio" left the audience energized and happy.
The concert arrangements were remarkable. These production values together with a show from a band that has improved over time offered a great night of music. If such is my satisfaction, I can't imagine the euphoria of the Duran Duran lovers.
Translation courtesy Luis Del Moral