House of Blues
March 20, 2001
Story and Photo by Phil BonyataYou probably wouldn't bet on a '80's former heavyweight pop band, with no new hits in years, to sell out the House of Blues in Chicago for five nights straight, would you? Even the ultra hip Billy Corgan, formerly of Smashing Pumpkins fame, showed up for a peek. Mysteriously, Duran Duran bucked the odds and turned the venue into their own beer filled sardine can, packed so tightly breathing was optional.
Simon LeBon, age has not diminished his dorky cool English lankiness, opened Tuesday nights show with the predictably forgettable "Silva Halo". Why not lure your fans into a wanting state with an old hit or two and then they might forgive some of the new crap that you infuse to feel relevant? The crowds' initial jubilance of seeing the boys live wore off quickly as this songs boorish pop melodies started to take root in the recesses of the "I spent $45 for this ticket" fans' brains! Simon and company, either catching this malaise or simply thinking they have perfected the hook to catch the big fish, broke into the jiggly and arguably one of the best Duran Duran songs, "Union of the Snake." Guys, this is why they pay to see you! Then comes "Mars Meets Venus" and "Come Undone" Oh well, they have to know something to sell out this many shows.
Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes, the original two remaining members of Duran Duran, seemed like they've done this thing too many times before. I'm sure a new hit would throw some heat under their asses and help them perform with a new sense of urgency. That's not going to happen though, so they should accept their fate in pop limbo and realize that they're getting paid very well as a '80's novelty act and put their money where their pouty mouths are!
Finally, they picked up a little on the vibe with "Notorious" and "Hungry Like the Wolf." This band definitely had pop smarts and appeal, it just got left at the doorstep of the '90's. "The Reflex" was an appropriate final encore. Going through the motions is just as easy as doing what comes naturally.
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