Album: Duran Duran’s ‘A Diamond in the Mind’ or just a nostalgic trip?
by Ruben Mosqueda on July 7, 2012
Duran Duran formed in 1978 in Birmingham, England the band went through a handful of lineup changes before solidifying. The classic lineup which we have become familiar with features singer Simon Le Bon, guitarist Andy Taylor, bassist John Taylor, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, and drummer Roger Taylor.
If you think of bands that were staples in contemporary radio in the ’80s, there’s no doubt one of the bands that comes to mind is Duran Duran. It seemed like for years you couldn’t escape them. God help you if you weren’t a fan because they were everywhere. Some even called the time when Duran Duran gained success the “Second British Invasion,” which was facilitated by the band’s brilliant use of the (then) new music video medium, and of course, their dashing, MTV good looks helped them dramatically. Let’s be honest, looks would be for naught if the songs weren’t there, and in Duran Duran’s case, they generated hit after blockbuster hit. Their efforts kept them on MTV through the ’90s and kept their label mass producing their albums. At their peak in the mid to late ’80s, record stores couldn’t keep Duran Duran albums in stock. It was a phenomenon that many had not seen before.
I admit, I wasn’t overly impressed by Duran Duran when I first saw them on MTV; it was the edited video clip of “Girls on Film.” There was something missing, but the potential was there.
It wasn’t until the follow-up album, Rio, that Duran Duran blew the door down and the flood gates opened. After the band’s third album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger, the band agreed to take a brief hiatus, which resulted in a pair of highly successful side projects.
Rhodes and Le Bon formed Arcadia, a pop band not unlike Duran Duran. John and Andy Taylor formed The Power Station, a hard rock act with the late Robert Palmer on vocals. Both projects scored hit singles and hit albums, and gave everyone the creative freedom that they might have otherwise not been able to express in Duran Duran. In the years following, Duran Duran’s album sales dwindled, band members left and in some cases came back—and then left again.
Now in 2012, Duran Duran features Le Bon, Rhodes, Roger and John Taylor along with additional backing musicians. The band have issued a live album, titled Live 2011: A Diamond in the Mind. The album was recorded in Manchester, England’s MEN Arena in December of 2011, and it should be noted that there will also be a DVD and Blu-ray issued of this performance with additional tracks not on the CD.
The disc features 14 Duran Duran tracks in all. “Blame the Machines” and “Girl Panic!” from their latest album, 2010’s All You Need Is Now, were worked in brilliantly into the set of hits. The new material received a similar response as the concert staples. Among the hits featured in the set are the classic “Planet Earth;” the theme from the James Bond film of the same name, “A View to A Kill;” “The Reflex;” the awesome “Ordinary World;” “Notorious;” and signature tracks “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Duran Duran even throws us a curve on “Wild Boys” where Le Bon breaks into Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” for a couple of verses.
Watch the A Diamond in the Mind DVD trailer:
Live 2011: A Diamond in the Mind is a better representation of the band than their 1984 live album Arena, which sounds more like it was polished up in studio than actually performed live. Call them a nostalgia act or criticize them for sticking with a set that is “too safe,” but don’t question their execution because they sound fantastic. Simon Le Bon is spot on and his voice sounds as youthful and vibrant as ever. Live 2011: A Diamond in the Mind is highly recommended.
Courtesy Oregon Music News