01 May, 2008

Duran Duran at the WaMu

Location: back from the 1980's
Mood: better than ever?

Last night I saw Duran Duran play. They're a funny band, because I would really like to say I was never a fan. But I was. Not sure how many of their albums I had. I think I had Girls on Film and Rio, and then eventually bought their greatest hits CD, Decade. So I had enough of their stuff to be considered a fan.

These guys were, for the most part, far better than any other "pop" band that came down the pipeline in the 1980's. Those of you who were completely "anti-pop" might be thinking "Well, that's not saying much" - but actually it is saying a lot. The 1980's were a decade of one-hit wonders. If you were to look at Duran Duran's chart history, this is what the "meat" of their career looks like (UK numbers, but USA mirrors closely):

1981 - Planet Earth hits #12
1982 - Hungry Like the Wolf hits #5
1982 - Save a Prayer hits #2
1982 - Rio hits #9
1983 - Is There Something I Should Know hits #1 (debuts there)
1983 - Union of the Snake hits #3
1984 - New Moon on Monday hits #9
1984 - The Reflex hits #1
1984 - Wild Boys hits #2
1985 - A View To a Kill hits #2
1986 - Notorious hits #7
1987 - Skin Trade hits #22
1988 - I Don't Want Your Love hits #14
1989 - All She Wants Is hits #9
1993 - Ordinary World hits #3
1993 - Come Undone hits #13

So that looks like 16 top 25 singles in 12 years. In a 4 year span (1982-1986) they had TEN singles in the top 10. That probably even rivals The Beatles!

Put that up against any other artist from that era, or since. Go ahead. I dare you. Madonna might have come close. But Madonna, for the most part, did not write her own songs (at least, very few were written solo). Duran Duran is therefore arguably the most successful band in the last 30 years.

And to top it off, they have great musicianship across the board. The band consisted of all original members, minus guitarist Andy Taylor, who has been replaced. The replacement was not bad, but he's definitely the weak link in the band. The one low point in the show, from my point of view, was that they kind of butchered "Girls on Film", mainly due to the guitar player not really having the riff down correctly.

In addition to Roger Taylor (drums), John Taylor (bass), and Nick Rhodes (keyboard), they also had a female backup singer and a saxophone player on most/some (respectively) songs.

Their songs, no matter how cheesy, managed to make us sing along. In fact, at last night's show, "The Reflex", one of Duran Duran's cheesiest songs, was actually one of the high points of the show. While these guys are all between 46 and 50 years old, they have not really lost a beat in terms of their playing and performance. Simon Le Bon's voice was far better than I had expected it to be.

Seeing their show just makes you realize how many popular songs they had, since, with the exception of a handful of new material, the entire night was hits.

Good sound at the WaMu. Great light show. Fun performance. What more could one ask?


  1. You've lost your mind.

  2. Is the WaMu brand new? Another new thing waiting for us when we get back...

    I was a big fan of DD in jr high school. I keep meaning to go back and repurchase some of their older stuff, but haven't yet. In Latin America, one can hear Ordinary World played quite frequently :)