Patrick McDonald From: AdelaideNow March 21, 2012 11:17am
ARMED with its best new album in nearly 30 years, Duran Duran provided living proof of the title track All You Need Is Now at its Adelaide Entertainment Centre concert on Tuesday.
Hot-shot producer Mark Ronson has helped the band recapture the trademark sounds, fun, vitality and inventiveness of its 1980s hits, while giving it a contemporary edge. This was shown off to full effect in a setlist heavy with new material.
The band opened in uncharacteristically subdued fashion, with a recording of the instrumental Return to Now leading into video imagery of military dictators on the brooding Before The Rain.
Then a familiar synthesiser chug heralded the band’s breakthrough hit Planet Earth and the stage erupted with a galaxy of star effects.
A View To A Kill followed and the video screens filled with multi-coloured silhouettes of Bond Girls on instruments. This segued neatly into the whirring electronica of the new album’s title track.
After keyboardist Nick Rhodes delivered a humorous address on lavatory etiquette, the lighting rig came to life on four robotic arms, which swirled about the sides of the stage while footage from Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis played to another new song, Blame The Machines.
One lucky audience member got to sing the intro to The Reflex. Then backing vocalist Anna Ross got to join Simon Le Bon on leads for the more melancholy 1990s hit Come Undone and rapping the “how ’bout you and me get down” line on the disco-flavoured Safe.
Le Bon was in fine voice throughout, showing no lasting signs of his vocal problems which delayed the band?s tour last year.
Is There Something I Should Know? built to a huge rock ending, propelled by Roger Taylor’s precision drumming and John Taylor’s ever-funky bass, while the new single Girl Panic was played in time with hilarious video of ’80s supermodels pretending to be the band.
There was even a TV newsreader to accompany the new album’s best and strangest song, The Man Who Stole a Leopard, followed by the obscure instrumental Tiger Tiger, featuring Simon Willescroft on saxophone, presumably included to give Le Bon’s voice a break.
Then the hits flowed: Notorious, its cover of White Lines, a great guitar break by Dom Brown on Ordinary World, the pure pop delight of Hungry Like the Wolf (which had even the upstairs rows dancing) and Reach Up For The Sunrise.
An epic version of Wild Boys even managed to work in a few bars of rival band Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax, before Duran Duran returned for the inevitable encores: A particularly muscular rendition of Girls on Film and the sax-laden crowd pleaser Rio.
More than a nostalgia trip, this concert and its new material firmly repositioned Duran Duran not only as band for now, but for the foreseeable future.