April 3, 2008

Duran Duran: Sydney review

Having never seen these guys play live before (let alone the originals!), I was expecting a repeat performance of the Auckland show, in which I read the review before this show in Sydney. Auckland was apparently a rocky start for their 2008 tour (or the Australiasian Tour), but it looked like they'd sorted things out for this show.

They were great. They were fun and they showed that Duran Duran was a progressive unit - albeit older - still looking forward instead of retrospectively. I'm being generous, as we were sitting in a bad audio pocket in the Sydney Entertainment Centre, and did not experience much from the bass player. I recommend you seat or stand yourself directly in front of the band, if you plan on seeing them to eliminate the sound issue we had. That said, the rest of the audio mix was fairly consistent. Duran Duran featured a lot off the "Rio" album. After opening with cuts from "Red Carpet Massacre", they launched into "Hungry Like The Wolf" - and Simon sang every word.

Duran Duran live in Sydney

Song highlights for me were "Wild Boys" with it's stunning energy, "A View To A Kill" - the audience just erupted into dance!, I particuarly loved the fact they played the rockier remix of "Sunrise", which was actually released as a dance remix. To hear an actual rock-based track through the mostly pop-dance show, was really refreshing and the lighting during this song was spectacular. They also did the same with "White Lines", and showed that they could not only make it rock, but proved to me that Duran Duran are true disposable pop heroes who looked, and sounded great! "Come Undone" was broken down nicely, and was a lot funkier. Actually, I'm going to put this down now.. funk is going to come to revival in pop music soon. I can feel it bubbling under.

Could it get better? Well, the next bit depends on who you talk to. Duran Duran then took a quick break while the techs set up four keyboards at front centre stage. They returned and launched into an electronica medley. They took to their machines as instruments, and belted out live 'rave' remixes of "I Don't Want Your Love", "Skin Trade" and a couple of other unfamiliar but completely progressive and awe-inspiring cuts that left me both bouncing, and very impressed. I'd heard that Auckland didn't "get it" but looking around, Sydney "got it". Perhaps this is where they are taking the next album?

Congrats to Duran Duran for breaking things up - coz they have a lot of hits in the baske, and this was better than just hearing each song one after the other. They finished the show with the encore "Girls On Film", and Simon duly introduced each band member. He also said 'fuck' more than once, and Nick Rhodes impressed by nailing the original samples, with the synth arpeggios to "Save A Prayer" and "Planet Earth". "Falling Down" was just beautiful (again, the lighting was fantastic during this song), but "Ordinary World" fell a bit flat. We sang "Notorious" so Simon didn't, as well as the 'na-na's' on "The Reflex" in which we again exploded into dance!

Simon also took to a front-rower's Australian flag and draped it, waved it, and probably stole it actually. It never went back to the audience (unless the person was invited to the afterparty? nah.) He also mentioned that Duran Duran played the same stage at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, back in 1984. Not 1994, 1984! Holy ground for many that night.