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Chris High reviews: Books, Movies, Albums, Theatre and Gigs.

Manchester Evening News Arena
Wednesday 21st April, 2004

Duran Duran live in concert
I have never been much of a fan of Duran Duran. Their music, to me, had always seemed lightweight and drab, way before Take That made such music an art form.

So it was with much trepidation that I went to the MEN Arena in Manchester to see them perform the 2nd of 2 nights in the venue on their reunion tour as the original line up. I needn't have worried, they were superb.

The evening got off to an inauspicious start; Goldfrappe were the support act and I've wasted far too many words on them already. In fact, it's probably a good thing it was a standing gig, because the 1/4 full Arena (at that stage) would have been empty after song 1 had been completed, I'm sure.

This was a sold out gig. 12, 500 people filled the air with tension as the lights dimmed, a beat rose from the stage, lights flashed and all of those sods who couldn't be bothered getting there early to sit through the truly awful support (perhaps they're not so stupid after all) pushed their way mindlessly - and selfishly - to the front.

I used to love stand up gigs. Now I hate them with a passion usually reserved for misbehaved, rude children and that nasty lingering taste you get in your mouth after a dodgy kebab.

But I digress.

To strobe the lighting effects a plenty, the quintet took to the stage, walking slowly but surely to the front, to stand like Grecian statues before us, before exploding into action.

All the hits were here; Union Of The Snake, Hungry Like The Wolf, View To A kill, Come Undone, New Moon On Monday, Ordinary World (complete with superb guitar solo by the seemingly ageless John Taylor) The Reflex, Notorious et al.

There was also one of those rare moments that you can't quite understand at the time it happens; a song so wonderfully written and performed, that the hairs on the back of your neck actually stand to attention. The Chauffeur - from the band's multi- million selling Rio album - was musical perfection and Simon Le Bon's now matured voice, no longer that grating high pitched squeal, handled it superbly.

Rio and Girls on Film were saved for the Encore and were received with apoplexy from girls only old enough to hear their mums talking about them at Christmas after 1 or 2 too many Snowballs. "Oooohhh, that Simon Lebanon, he was a looker him" they say, I believe.

Down sides to the gig were 5 aging lotharios chanting Wild Boys over and over to embarrassing levels of squirmy under reaction from the audience and the girl behind me who never stopped telling her mate how great the show was - by mobile phone!!!!!! I kid you not, she shouted her way through the entire gig and never sang a note OR (I don't think) looked once at the stage !!

The lighting was worthy of a Genesis gig (OK, maybe not - but it WAS pretty impressive none the less) but the sound was little more than alright, sadly.

We even got a peek at half of the female population of Coronation Street thrown in for free (YES, Karen McDonald really is stunningly attractive, though is not as nice as Maria - honest !!)

Dressed in white tux, replete with red rose affixed to lapel, Le Bon prowled the stage looking for another victim to nonchalantly wink at from his lofty height, before spinning around in a pirouette and dropping to his knees in pain that might have only been half imagined.

Overall, this was an excellent show performed by professionals fully deserving of their life time achievement award at this year's Brits.
Now perhaps they'll leave us all alone to enjoy our cups of Ovaltine in peace !!





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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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