Duran Duran Leads Raucous Party at Ruth Eckerd Hall

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Duran Duran leads raucous party at Ruth Eckerd Hall

By KATHERINE SMITH | The Tampa Tribune

After more than 30 years, Duran Duran can still bring a sold-out crowd to its feet.

By mixing a blend of their greatest hits with several songs from their newest album "All You Need Is Now," the boys from England not only brought the crowd of 2,180 at Ruth Eckerd Hall to its feet Monday night, for the most part, they kept them there.

"We are Duran Duran, the band designed to make you party,'' lead singer Simon LeBon declared to raucous applause.

For two hours, it was one big party, set to tunes that made the band one of the most successful acts of the '80s along with ones off the critically acclaimed new album.

The 19-song set opened with "Before the Rain" from "All You Need Is Now,'' a song reminiscent of "The Chauffeur'' from their second album "Rio.'' Then they launched into "Planet Earth,'' a song from their debut album, "Duran Duran.''

Enhancing the music were different multimedia platforms, including a live Twitter feed display (with the band encouraging fans to tweet), large video screen images set to each song and at one point, cameras turned onto the audience to show them singing along.

Always at the forefront of new technology and one of the first acts to embrace music video, the band used those little touches as yet another way to reach and remain close with their audience.

By the time Duran Duran began the fourth song, the title track off the newest album, they'd already established a pattern of old with new. The lyrics in the chorus "And you sway in the moon, the way you did when you were younger,'' seemed apropos as the majority of the fans dancing to the beats seemed of the age slightly younger than the band members.

Midway through the set, the familiar first notes of "The Reflex,'' the bands first No. 1 hit in the U.S., reverberated throughout the auditorium. Before slowing things down with "Leave the Lights On" and the poignant "Ordinary World,'' the band showed off the skills of bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor and keyboardist Nick Rhodes with the pulsating song "Careless Memories.''

LeBon, one of music's most engaging front men, didn't show signs of the throat problem that caused the band to cancel several gigs over the summer. He wailed along to "Hungry Like the Wolf'' and "Sunrise,'' the last song before the finale.

The high octane "Wild Boys" and "Rio" closed out the set.

Neon Trees opened the show with a tight 30-minute set featuring their top hit "Animal." Lead singer Tyler Glenn showed off his impressive pipes, as well as his charismatic personality. With his gyrating dance moves, unique hairstyle and powerful vocals, Glenn invoked a likeness to the late Michael Hutchence from INXS.

Courtesy Tampa Tribune

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