By DON CHAREUNSY
NICHE DIVISION OF LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL
It was greatest-hits night for Duran Duran in its “The Paper Gods Tour” stop at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Friday night, and the British new wave and synth pop band popular in the 1980s and ’90s delivered a really great night of infectious fun, nostalgia and sing-along exuberance.
Frontman Simon Le Bon, in tight white trousers, was front and center the entire nearly 2-hour concert, his voice as strong as ever, while longtime (as in 38 years) bandmates bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor received just-as-enthusiastic applause during the band roll call.
Keyboard Nick Rhodes was absent, but not to worry, as he’s still with the band. Le Bon explained that Rhodes is at home in Britain dealing with a family matter, and keyboardist Amanda Lucille Warner, stage name MNDR, stood in with a recommendation from Rhodes. Also new to the lineup Friday night: electrifying electric guitarist Dominic Brown.
While the band’s hits shined in the spotlight, newer and lesser-known material “Paper Gods,” also the name of the band’s new album released last September, “Last Night in the City,” “What Are the Chances?” and “Pressure Off,” the lead single off “Paper Gods,” complemented the setlist. In fact, the EDM “Last Night in the City” could easily be a part of a DJ’s set at a nightclub.
Duran Duran performed “Pressure Off” during the 2015 iHeart Radio Music Festival at MGM Grand Garden Arena last fall. Also of note Friday night: Le Bon introduced “Come Undone” with talk of s-e-x, and during a shout-out to opening act Chic, longtime producer Nile Rodgers returned to the stage and performed “Notorious” and “Pressure Off” with the band.
The evening’s two poignant moments: First, a snippet of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” during “Planet Earth” with his image on the big LED screen in tribute and an effective speech by Le Bon at the beginning of the encore – about maintaining optimism and the belief in good, music is a force and the importance of creating stars from the darkness – before launching into “Save a Prayer,” which he dedicated to survivors, victims and peacekeepers.
One of Duran Duran’s best songs, the gorgeous and lush remake of Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” was sadly absent Friday night. Nonetheless, “Ordinary World,” another favorite, made up for it, and the evening with Duran Duran at Mandalay Bay was a night to remember.
Friday night’s setlist: “Paper Gods, “The Wild Boys,” “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “A View to a Kill,” “Come Undone,” “Last Night in the City,” “What Are the Chances?,” “Notorious,” “Pressure Off,” “Planet Earth,” “Ordinary World,” “I Don’t Want Your Love,” “White Lines (Don’t Do It” (a high-energy cover of the Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel classic), “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise” with “New Moon on Monday” mixed in the song, “The Reflex” and “Girls on Film.”
Encore: “Save a Prayer” and “Rio.” Who else remembers a sexy and tan Le Bon in a black bikini-brief swimsuit in the video for the latter caught in a fishing net? Nice catch!
Courtesy Las Vegas Review Journal. Click for photos.