Review and photos by: Stephanie Roman
For over three decades, Duran Duran has made us hungry, captured the attention of beautiful girls on film, and represented the world’s most famous spy. They also seem to have developed a taste for Atlanta–last night’s concert at Chastain Park was their third visit in eighteen months to support the band’s thirteenth studio album, All You Need is Now.
So what have the boys from Birmingham been up to since we last heard from them? Lead singer Simon Le Bon seems to have made a full recovery after suffering damage to his vocal cords last summer. His voice was in top form last night and the entire band came together for some of their best sound in years. John Taylor (the funkin’ bass) recently released his autobiography called “In the Pleasure Groove–Love, Death, and Duran Duran,” while Roger Taylor (drums) enjoys a second career as a DJ when he’s not on tour with the band. Keyboard player Nick Rhodes celebrated his 50th birthday this summer, but his youthful countenance can only mean that there’s a Nagel print of the blond locked away somewhere, aging in an attic.
Duran fans narrowly missed a downpour at the start of the show, and the band appropriately opened with an orchestral lead into “Before the Rain.” An elegant beginning to the evening for a crowd that seemed decidedly casual without the tablecloths and champagne bottles often found at this venue. The front row tables gave way to a “pit” area of folding chairs directly in front of the stage where both prowling cougars and nubile limbs could mingle together.
The performance continued with “Planet Earth,” an upbeat hit from the band’s glamourous New Romantic era. The stylish James Bond theme “A View to a Kill” followed, complete with display of luxuriating female silhouettes on large video screens directly behind the band. Two expertly mixed tracks from the new album whipped fans into a frenzy, then Simon leaned into the crowd to find a few lucky audience members to sing the opening melody of “The Reflex.”
Duran Duran actively encourages creativity from their followers through fan art contests, social media sites, and a strong presence on the 3D virtual world, Second Life. On Second Life, members can create their own characters (avatars) with elaborate costumes and fantastic environments. Duran Duran featured some of their favorite fan avatars and photo contest winners as video art behind the stage. Seems like a great way to stay connected with the next generation of artists!
“Save A Prayer” sounded like soft Pacific breezes on an undulating sea of silk. We only had a moment to catch our breath before the band launched into funky favorites like “Notorious” and “White Lines.” “Hungry Like the Wolf” had one false start, but recovered before melting into a rock version of the club hit “(Reach Up for) The Sunrise.” Guitarist Dominic Brown has been warmly embraced by fans as an unofficial member of the band since the early 2000’s, and plays just tough enough to give the music an updated edge. Testosterone levels rose with the combination of pounding guitar, machine gun drums and synth on “Wild Boys,” which sounded like an approaching army ready to burn Atlanta for a second time.
Battling boys aside, the ladies weren’t forgotten for long. A glittering encore of “Girls on Film” and “Rio” closed out the night on a very appropriate high fashion note.
Set List: Before the Rain / Planet Earth / A View to a Kill / All You Need Is Now / Being Followed / The Reflex / Safe (In the Heat of the Moment) / Union of the Snake / Girl Panic! / Save A Prayer/ Notorious / White Lines / Ordinary World / Hungry Like the Wolf / (Reach Up for) The Sunrise / Wild Boys / Relax
Encore: Girls on Film / Rio