Duran Duran: A Diamond in the Mind — Live 2011 Blu-Ray Review

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The Performance
(4 out of 5)

In the 1980s, Duran Duran was equally known for their hit songs as their sense of fashion and their highly stylized music videos which helped define the “MTV Generation.” Part of what was at the time being hailed as the “New British Invasion,” Duran Duran’s music was born out of the techno-pop culture pioneered by European bands like Kraftwerk, but with a more approachable, catchy hook borrowed from the new romantics and latter day new wave bands. Their formula was irresistible, particularly to the teenage girls of the day, but not too many critics were convinced – many writing them off as mere flash in the pans, sugary teen pop in designer clothes.

Flash forward to 2012 and the band has had so many hit songs with a continuing following that those critics are probably tired of the taste of crow by now. “Hungry Like the Wolf,” Rio,” “Girls on Film,” “Save a Prayer,” and “Ordinary World” are just a few of the memorable and enduring numbers the group has wracked up over the years. So, when they got together in 2011 to support their latest studio endeavor, All You Need is Now, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the shows would garner lots of praise, fans would love it, and it would be visual spectacle taken to the extreme.

The set, as Nick Rhodes described it, is “Pixel Punk,” a pure visual feast that could go toe to toe with U2 at their most elaborate. Multiple hi-tech screens flash an array of visual effects from CG animation to psychedelic patterns. Asymmetrical lighting rigs flash multi-colored lights while numerous film cameras capture images from every angle. That doesn’t even take into account the post-production effects added for the home viewers’ benefit to add a sense of energy and “being there.”

That, of course, is all fine, but ultimately a musical concert has to deliver – on the music. A Diamond in the Mind does, without a doubt. The band is on form, the musicianship is at a very high level and no one misses a beat. The set mixes in tracks from their new album All You Need is Now with numerous classics from over the years, including the funky “Notorious” and their 007 hit “A View to a Kill.” Conspicuously missing from the show were “Save a Prayer” and “Girls on Film.”

Track Listing:

Return To Now
Before The Rain
Planet Earth
View To A Kill
All You Need Is Now
Blame The Machines
Safe (In The Heat Of The Moment)
The Reflex
Man Who Stole A Leopard
Girl Panic!
White Lines
Careless Memories
Ordinary World
Notorious
Hungry Like The Wolf
(Reach Up For The) Sunrise
Wild Boys/Relax
Rio
A Diamond In The Mind
Bonus tracks:

Come Undone
Is There Something I Should Know?

Video Quality
(4.5 out of 5)

A Diamond in the Mind is one of the rare concert videos to appear in the 2.35:1 widescreen format, but it still shows up on Blu-ray in the typical interlaced 1080i/60 rendering of its production in an AVC/MPEG-4 encodement. Not to worry, however, despite the quick camera movements, multi-colored flashing lights, heavy visual effects and very ADD-type edits, this is one of the strongest looking concert videos I have seen from Eagle Rock. Detail is sharp, contrast is strong, colors really pop, and there are little to no motion artifacts detectable.

Audio Quality
(4.5 out of 5)

The 16-bit audio mixes in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz) and LPCM 2.0 (48kHz) are extremely satisfying. The sound of the 5.1, in particular, is rather natural and dynamic with good vocal presence and airy high frequencies. The midrange is punchy, allowing the drums to really standout without sounding too loose or rubbery. Lows have good, tight musicality and instrumental separation is superb. There is a lavish amount of atmospherics and, the mix is often discrete in its use of the surround channels as well, mixing some of the band’s electronic effects into the surrounds or, for effect, around the room in a circular pattern, as is the case with the opening of “Planet Earth.”

One issue I have with this release is the absolutely perfect sound of Simon Le Bon’s vocals. To my ears, he sounds at times a bit too perfect, almost as if A) He was re-recorded or B) He was heavily corrected in post-production with auto tune or something. This is just speculation on my part as I have never actually had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Le Bon sing live in concert.

Supplemental Materials
(3 out of 5)

The extras offer a behind-the-scenes featurette of the tour and two bonus tracks.

The supplements:

Duran Duran 2011 — Behind the Scenes Documentary (HD)
Bonus Tracks:
Come Undone
Is There Something I Should Know?

The Definitive Word
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

This is an excellent show, full of energy and filled with hits. If you weren’t able to get to see the show, recorded at Manchester’s MEN Arena in the UK, then this is the next best thing to being there.

Read entire review with Screen Captures and video here.

Courtesy Blu-Ray Definition

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