The eighties are known for big hair, bright questionable clothing styles…and Duran Duran. Lead singer Simon Le Bon serenading the camera in a safari hat seated in an exotic bar for the “Hungry Like the Wolf” video or the well-coiffed Nick Rhodes and John Taylor lifting boxes on a cobble-stone road in “New Moon on Monday.” At the peak of their fame, when Simon Le Bon most recently joked with a reporter that he and the band were aiming “for world domination,” Duran Duran was considered to be a twenty something version of a boy band. Not enough music critics took them very seriously. People like me were mostly to blame. I was one of those teenage girls screaming her voice hoarse at their concerts, every inch of my bedroom walls papered with their posters.
But even though I was an avid raving teenage Duran Duran fan, I really did enjoy their music. I knew every lyric of their popular songs as well as many of their obscure ones. “Friends of Mine” and “Careless Memories” have been playing on my iPod for years while I work out on my elliptical at home.
I recently attended the concert of a well known singer, popular in the eighties. After playing his biggest hits, he spent the duration of the concert covering songs by The Beatles and Katy Perry. It not only sounded a little musically schizophrenic. He also sounded really outdated.
This is not the case with Duran Duran. Last night when I attended their sold out concert at The Hollywood Bowl, Duran Duran had the hard part of choosing which of their biggest hits to play along with new music from their CD Paper Gods. Arguably, they’re that rare band that has too many hit songs. They began with the signature title song of their new CD and later performed my favorite “Dancephobia” with Le Bon and their female singers dancing along a border of the stage that extended into the crowd. They also covered the slow sensual “Come Undone” and the upbeat “Notorious.” The majority of the audience remained on their feet throughout the night, some even putting away their smart phones long enough to enjoy the music without documenting every last second of it.
While it is good to see four of the band members together again, it doesn’t feel quite the same as it once did at fifteen seeing them in concert. It is better. Naturally, as an adult, I no longer scream my lungs out. Instead I sing along to the music. They are a different band in a necessary way. They are decades away from that twenty something boy band. They are a band with a brand new CD on the top Billboard chart here in the US and in other countries as well. Le Bon, especially, has a renewed energy. He worked the crowd into a frenzy with his self-effacing sexuality, at one point jokingly turning away from the crowd and shaking his hips. And while they may no longer be a twenty something boy band, they may not be out of the woods just yet from being objectified by their many ardent female fans. On the ride to the concert, while I was stopped in traffic, my older sister called my cell. “Tell me how he looks,” she said. “Which one?” I asked. “Nick,” she replied. “I saw him on TV the other day. He’s sooo well-preserved.”