It might be 30 years later but the girls, make that women, still have their first love.
The 80s heartthrobs gave the Pacific Northwest just one stop on their current tour in support of the new album Paper Gods (released Sept. 11) making it at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup on Wednesday tearing through a solid 19-song set full of their most popular hits and a good sampling of the latest release.
The one-time screaming teenagers have grown up and so have Duran Duran but time has yet to catch up with the artist one time known as the Fab 5. Celebrating their 14th studio album and first to land in the Top 10 in 22 years, Duran Duran got right to business showcasing the new record and opened the show with the title tract stepping on stage to some thunder and lightning, a la some strobes, before the song’s familiar opening chant began.
But it wasn’t long before the hits came as they rolled out four straight with “Hungry Like the Wolf,” a stellar version of “A View to a Kill,” the very fun “The Reflex,” and “Come Undone.” The band went back to Paper Gods with the dance tract “Last Night in the City” and the great “What Are The Chances?”
The new album is an interesting mix of classic Duran Duran with some dance heavy riff tunes but a few take a big departure from anything the band has recorded. However, the song “Paper Gods” continues much in the same vein as their last release All You Need Is Now which didn’t get tapped into at all. “Last Night in the City” indeed offers a fun beat and “What Are The Chances?” should go down as a DD classic.
The band returned to their roots with “Notorious” as Nile Rodgers, co-writer of the song and producer of several Duran Duran albums helped out on guitar and it was back to the new album with “Pressure Off” one of the strongest new songs (which features Rodgers) that’s getting some radio play and showered the front section with confetti upon its completion.
“Planet Earth” with the slick John Taylor bass line sounded as new as the previous song despite being more than three decades older. Duran Duran brought back their 1993 self-titled record also known as The Wedding Album a second, and not the last time, with “Ordinary World.” Singer Simon LeBon dedicated it the band’s fan base that’s stuck around for so many years and genuinely seemed touch by the large turnout.
“(Reach Up For The) Sunrise” the first tract off 2004’s Astronaut, the band’s first with the original five, who then reunited after nearly 20 years, featured a great guitar by the now departed Andy Taylor’s replacement, Dom Brown. “Wild Boys” kept the crowd buzzed which got killed by “Danceophobia,” the last of the new songs. No, the lads didn’t truck out Lindsey Lohan, who is a guest on the album version, but it stuck out like a sore thumb on the setlist just as it does on Paper Gods. It’s not the only one on the album either but luckily the only one played live.
Perhaps paying homage to their last Top 10 album in the charts, Duran Duran grabbed a third song off The Wedding Album with the rarely played “Too Much Information” and closed out the main set with the always played “Girls on Film.” The encore featured the cover “White Lines,” the female favorite “Save a Prayer” and finally “Rio.”
Though the treble seemed a bit high, at times too high, during most of the concert, it was a mostly flawless evening with LeBon, now 56, nailing the vocals and even taking it to new heights on “What Are The Chances.” (Check out that album version!). He’s shaved the beard and looks nowhere near 60 thanks to a boyish haircut.
The ageless Nick Rhodes, with a bevy of keyboards, delivered all those crazy electronic sounds and drummer Roger Taylor, of course, kept time. Though original guitarist Andy Taylor left 10 years ago, Brown (could he be Dexter Morgan’s brother?) has handled the axe ever since and turned it up a bit for “Girls on Film” and “Rio.”
Playing at the fairgrounds (a surprisingly big venue) is a long way from the rabid stadium sell-outs during the second British invasion, however, Duran Duran is still together and they’re far more than a touring nostalgia act. They’ve released four albums since 2004 and suddenly seem back on everyone’s radar. Paper Gods doesn’t rise to the band’s standard level of fare however it’s got some gems scattered throughout and shows these guys have more to play.
And for many they remain the wild boys of their youth.
Duran Duran Washington State Fair Setlist:
- Paper Gods
- Hungry Like The Wolf
- A View To A Kill
- The Reflex
- Come Undone
- Last Night In The City
- What Are The Chances?
- Pressure Off
- Planet Earth
- Ordinary World
- (Reach Up For The) Sunrise
- The Wild Boys
- Too Much Information
- Girls On Film
- White Lines (Don’t Do It)
- Save A Prayer