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New wave heroes still
Duran Duran – Live 2011: A Diamond In The Mind
Review by Andy ArgyrakisVery few bands survived the new-wave era with integrity in tact, and though Duran Duran's certainly made a few missteps along the way, the Fab Five (well, technically now just Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor), haven't just survived but thrived. Besides the band's hysteria-inducing beginnings and a second bout with fame in the ‘90s, the group's currently in the midst of another revival. Granted, its latest, "All You Need Is Now” (S-Curve), isn't tearing up the charts, but its return-to-form sound is fashionable once again thanks to shout outs from The Killers, Goldfrapp, Franz Ferdinand and Neon Trees.
Need more proof of the group's renewed relevance? The DVD/Blu-ray of "Live 2011: A Diamond In The Mind” is the ideal place to start as it finds the fellas looking just as dashing and sounding just as solid as they did in the decade of decadence. The two hour trip through time covers most of the main bases from yesteryear, though the group gives seminal early cuts like "Planet Earth,” "A View To A Kill” and "The Reflex” a glossy coat of paint.
From the newest album, "Before The Rain” swirls with experimental electronics, "Safe (In The Heat Of the Moment)” oozes with percolating funk, while "Girl Panic!” could quite possibly be the band's most contagious single to date (and that's saying a lot considering its hit-stacked history). D2 die-hards are also sure to smile with the rare concert inclusion of the Grandmaster Melle Mel cover "White Lines,” while the merger of its original "Wild Boys” with Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax” is absolutely ingenious. Even a behind the scenes documentary is cast in fresh light, chronicling this particular tour's stops at SxSW and Coachella, along with a few sobering scenes of Le Bon losing his voice during rehearsals and having to postpone an entire leg.
Nonetheless, he and the band also sound in top notch form throughout the CD edition of "Live 2011: A Diamond In The Mind,” though it inexplicably includes a mere 14 tracks when the visual edition boasts the complete 19 song show. Sure, the typical greatest hits are present ("Notorious,” "Hungry Like The Wolf,” "Rio”), but why cut "Safe (The Heat Of The Moment),” "The Man Whole Stole A Leopard” or "White Lines,” especially considering they've never appeared on an official concert collection before? Imperfections aside, at least both versions drive home the fact that Duran Duran is back on the scene and quite possibly sounding even better than the first time around.
Duran Duran performs at Ravinia in Highland Park, IL on Wednesday, August 29. For additional details, visit www.ravinia.org
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