Duran Duran, James Blunt: From timeless to timeworn

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Duran Duran, James Blunt: From timeless to timeworn
ROCK REVIEW: Duran Duran, James Blunt satisfy at Nokia

By MATT WEITZ / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

GRAND PRAIRIE – It was a night of revival and slight retirement Wednesday at Nokia Theatre as Duran Duran and James Blunt delivered a crowd-pleasing show to a nearly full house.

The revival was totally the turf of Duran Duran, the New Romantic sensation of the '80s (if you even remember that term, you're dating yourself as someone who probably saw the first-ever MTV video of the Buggles – y'know, back when they showed music videos).

These guys – still fronted by Simon Le Bon, every bit as ageless as Bryan Ferry or David Bowie – have updated the dance-club rhythms that made their early success with bass-heavy hip-hop beats courtesy of their latest release, this year's Red Carpet Massacre.

Tracks like "Falling Down" and "Skin Divers" betray a tilt toward today bolstered by contributions from less-geezerish collaborators such as Timbaland and (gasp!) Justin Timberlake.

There's also archival, crowd-pleasing chestnuts like "Rio" and "Girls on Film."

Slight retirement was represented by James Blunt, who just doesn't seem as hot – or as relevant – as he was a year or two ago.

Like fellow flavors from the halcyon days of, say, 2005 (Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Jason Mraz), his songs are competent, even good, but hardly bound for pop glory.

He still puts on a good show, however, emoting well through early hits like "You're Beautiful" and "Wise Men" (from his attention-getting debut, 2004's live Back to Bedlam).

Like Duran Duran, Mr. Blunt also has a new album, and the dynamics behind it may hint at nothing more than the ever-shrinking cycle of pop careers. September's All the Lost Souls was represented by affecting versions of songs like "I'll Take Everything" and "1973," an epochal song about the year before he was born.

In the end, it depended on your attitude, or perhaps your age, as to whether the acts were more interesting for their similarities or their differences.

Courtesy Dallas Morning News

Photo courtesy BRANDON THIBODEAUX

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