Concert: Duran Duran in Tucson, AZ
While the world was watching the Olympics' closing ceremony, Tucson, AZ, was having a British invasion of its own on Sunday (8/12) as Duran Duran's "All You Need is Now" tour hit the AVA Amphitheater.
The 5,000 or so fans who packed the intimate venue at Casino del Sol were treated to an electrifying show by the glamwave godfathers -- longtime members Simon Le Bon (singer), John Taylor (bassist), Nick Rhodes (keyboardist) and Roger Taylor (drummer). The band was joined by regular contributors guitarist Dom Brown, whom purists have slagged despite the fact that he's a formidable player; multi-instrumentalist Simon Willescroft and background singer Anna Ross.
The setlist (included below) was heavy on the hits but nicely acknowledged Duran Duran's latest album, "All You Need is Now" with the title track as well as "Safe (In the Heat of the Moment)," "Girl Panic!" "The Man Who Stole a Leopard" and the concert opener "Before the Rain." The new songs were some of the highlights of the show. "Before the Rain" was hauntingly beautiful, with John Taylor and Brown only joining Le Bon a third of the way through the tune. The video for "Girl Panic!" which features supermodels standing in for the band, flashed on the screens behind Duran Duran and was perfectly synched to Le Bon's vocals.
Overall, the tunes in general had more teeth than their respective recorded tracks, especially "White Lines," a Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel cover found on the "Thank You" record; "Ordinary World" and "Union of the Snake." Most of the credit can be given to John Taylor's funky bass and Brown's snarly guitars. Rhodes was playful with Le Bon, trading vocals during "The Reflex," while Roger Taylor pounded on the skins in true form for "Wild Boys."
When Le Bon wasn't singing, he was subtly dancing in time to the beat. He received wild applause for spinning when he sang "They won't slow down the roundabout" in "The Reflex." He even walked in rhythm when he visited the far right and left sides of the audience. While on stage right, he invited a tank-top-wearing man named Donovan to "sing" (I use the term loosely as he admitted he couldn't sing) the opening hook to "The Reflex."
"He shaved his chest, especially for the evening," Le Bon said cheekily.
But the show wasn't always lighthearted. Le Bon said the world is beautiful but acknowledged it is a troubled soul. But he had a bit of advice in the speech before "Ordinary World."
"I think the less people fear, the happier they all become," Le Bon said.
The stage set-up was simple. A Union Jack flag covered John Taylor's bass amps. Lights were affixed to metal arms on each side of the stage and video screens illuminated from the back. The videoscreens and stage lights turned white for a stunning take on "White Lines."
The show, at one of the smallest venues on the tour, was moving, enthusiastic and dramatic all at once. Just like early Duran Duran.
"Before the Rain"
"A View to a Kill"
"All You Need is Now"
"Safe (In the Heat of the Moment)"
"Union of the Snake"
"The Man Who Stole a Leopard"
"Hungry Like the Wolf"
"Save a Prayer"
15 - Catoosa, OK - The Joint at Hard Rock Casino/Tulsa
17 - Memphis, TN - Memphis Botanic Garden
18 - Biloxi, MS - Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Biloxi
19 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheatre
21 - Durham, NC - Durham Performing Arts Center
22 - Portsmouth, VA - Ntelos Wireless Pavilion
24 - Mashantucket, CT - MGM Grand at Foxwoods
25 - Atlantic City, NJ - Ovation Hall
26 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE
28 - Kettering, OH - Fraze Pavilion for the Performing Arts
29 - Highland Park, IL - Ravinia Festival at Ravinia Park (Ravinia Festival)
31 - Rama, Ontario - Casino Rama Entertainment Centre
1 - Rama, Ontario - Casino Rama Entertainment Centre