Thursday, May 01, 2008

Duran Duran Live at the WaMu Theater, 4/30/08

First off, the WaMu Theater (capacity 7,000) is a pretty cool place. Curtains draped all around, an indoor booze garden, almost feels like a permanent structure. The stage is large and full-sized, able to accomodate most any show, I would guess. After a couple of drinks we got to our seats in Row 8, just slightly stage left (John Taylor's side). After less than five minutes the lights went down, the crowd stood up (as it did most of the night), the band took their spots on stage in the shadows, and then the music started, the opening strains of "The Valley" from Red Carpet Masacre. The lights came on incredibly bright with strobe action, SLB standing dramatically in the middle of a huge stage. John to the left on a bass synthisizer, the very sexy Anna Ross back a few steps to the left, Dom Brown on Guitar stage right, Nick and Roger behind on elevated platforms to the right and left, and a two-story bank of lights behind the band with an urban motif backdrop.

Set List:

THE VALLEY - Starts the set with a BANG. Incredibly loud and vibrant as an opening ROCK number. The crowd goes crazy. Most of the female's in attendance know the words to the new songs by heart already; Le Bon apparently does not. He keeps singing "I'm walking, though the city" instead of "the valley". This is either intentional or sub-concious, but either way SLB carries this tune off.

RED CARPET MASSACRE - They waste not a second in jumping into RCM's top rock track, which builds on the momentum from the first song. The crowd goes nuts. Everyone is moving as Le Bon screams out "Deathsquad Papparazzi Yo!" Another killer song.

NITE RUNNER - Another instant transition to a more downbeat number my spouse declares "too funky". John and Anna do an excellent job of substituting for Timbaland's backing vocals. Likely a new band classic.
TRANSITION: "Hello Seattle!" etc, etc.

HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF - And speaking of classics... yes, it's required at every show, let's get it out of the way early. Le Bon manages to get the lyrics mostly right this time with just one "I smell like I'm found" screw up.

PLANET EARTH - A mix of the album version and the "Night Version" with JT's bass work featuring prominently. Thankfully no "Switch it off" after the "Like some New Romantic looking for the TV sound" line. The show has been incedibly energetic to this point and I'm getting tired just looking at 40-something plus year-old men perform. Steve Jenkins admits to me he's "a convert" after this song is over.

FALLING DOWN - Finally a slower, more acoustic number. Seems somewhat out of place in the midst of the non-stop electro-rockiness up 'till now. Seems like everyone takes a bit of a breather and although the fans love the song (like I do) it doesn't really come off.

COME UNDONE - Also one of my all-time faves, this version of the song doesn't work with Dom Brown on guitar. First Warren Cucurrillo and then Andy Taylor managed to make the guitar intro something special. Brown just makes it seem plain and his poor work hurts the song. Yeah, we all miss Andy badly at this point. Still, Jenkins takes a look around the crowd at the swooning women and declares "This one's a panty-dropper". Yeah.

SKINDIVERS - A pretty spare track on the album, this comes to life played live as we return to the electroclash beats. Again, JT and Anna do an excellent job with the backing vocals and they harmonize well with SLB on the "rap" parts. Better than expected.

THE REFLEX - OK, they have to play it. It was their first No. 1. It still sucks. They get through it.

SAVE A PRAYER - Another panty-dropper featuring Le Bon on acoustic guitar. This song is always a crowd favorite and it works really well and sounds great, as usual.

VIEW TO A KILL - We rock it up again with a great arrangement featuring SLB's screeching (and on-key) vocals.

ELECTRO-SET: The band go off stage and change into matching black satin jackets with black shirts and leather ties while roadies set up four synths side-to-side at the front of the stage. They all come out with headset microphones on and start into what can only be described as a Kraftwerk-meets-Blue-Man-Group-meets-Devo set-within-a-set. Roger Taylor's mike starts to fall off his head during "Last Chance" but he can't stop drumming to put it back on so he just keeps singing like it's still attached. Le Bon punctuates the first number with uneccessary hip thrusts, but it does sure remind me of college, and of course Lora.


Le Bon never touches his synth until a brief point on "IDWYL" and "Skin Trade". "Tempted" is another set highlight and Anna looks scrumptious.

NOTORIOUS - We return to regular programming here. You've heard it before. It burns the skin from your eyes.

GIRLS ON FILM - Another mix of album and "Night Version" featuring band intros. Nick takes video during the song; "Play the fuckin' bass, John" is screamed by the enire crowd, including my spouse. Hmm. A woman holds up a sign that says "Will trade husband for John" with an arrow pointing to the husband. Uh-oh. I think my wife thinks this is a good idea.

ORDINARY WORLD - Meloncholy ballad gets everybody swaying and cell phones and digital cameras blinking. Panties drop a third time.

SUNRISE - Again, the "Jason Nevins Remix" version, but not nearly as potent with Dom Brown on guitar as with Andy.

WILD BOYZ - We sense the end is near. "Stomp your feet, feet, feet..." sez Simon. People stomp. Crowd goes nuts at the end. Band leaves stage.

ENCORE: RIO - Crowd leaps to feet. Girls jump up and down. Everyone sings "doo-doo-doo-doodoo-duh-do's" while swinging left hand back and forth. band takes a bow. Panties are thrown. I look for my wife and she has rushed the stage screaming "Oh John! Take me" along with 6,000-odd other females. Lights come up. Everyone goes home happy.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Le Bon really carried the show, even more than usual, for two full hours. He was in outstanding form. The new songs sound much better live than I expected. Just when I am ready to write off the band and hope they start easing into retirement they come out and put on a show like this on a Wednesday night in a mid-size market. They were terrific.

Lastly, many undeserving men got really good sex last night for taking their wives/girlfriends/bitches/Ho's to the show. On the other hand, most of them had to put up with their women screaming out "Oh John!" while getting it.


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