19 October 2011: State Theatre at Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio
I have had Duran Duran’s new album in heavy rotation for months now. I love All You Need Is Now as much as any of their classic stuff. Completely against the cultural norm, I have been listening to the entire album as opposed to just the singles, whereas, back in the day I focused primarily on their hits. The result is All You Need Is Now has become one of my all-time favorite Duran Duran albums and one that I know every song from top-to-bottom.
Tracy and I have been excited about the show since we bought the tickets, so much so that I even convinced Jeff and Anna to pick up tickets when we got together for some home brewing a few weeks ago. Although we weren’t seated together, they were just in the next section over, so we got to hang out when we arrived, after Neon Trees’ opening set, and immediately following Duran Duran’s show. A good concert experience with good friends is hard to beat, and that’s just what we got as Adam & Jeff’s ’80s Alternative Rewind Adventure rolled on Wednesday night!
The celebrating throng was evenly distributed between men and women, and none of the guys in the audience looked like they were there under duress. The entire crowd was appreciative of the show, rising to their feet when the house lights first dimmed a few minutes after 9, and the only time they sat back down was during the brief mid-set “Tiger Tiger” instrumental off of Seven and the Ragged Tiger, giving lead singer Simon Le Bon’s voice a rest.
It’s hard to find any complaints at all with the song selection. I would call it perfect; Tracy would have liked to have heard “Girls On Film”. Seven of the twenty-song set were pulled from All You Need Is Now, and those cuts really shone. The title track and “Girl Panic!”, my two favorite tracks off of the new album, may not eclipse the classic stuff, but they certainly matched those songs with their hooks, delivery, and energy.
I was startled by how powerful and moving “Come Undone” was live. The other big surprise was just how damn fun “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise” was. Off of 2004’s Astronaut, it’s a song I’ve never paid much attention to, but it was a raucous main set closer!
My two favorite classic Duran Duran songs – “A View to a Kill” and “The Reflex” – were expected highlights that absolutely delivered, but, honestly, none of their definitive stuff fell short. “Is There Something I Should Know?”, “Careless Memories”, “Notorious”, “Hungry Like the Wolf” were all second half highlights. And the encore was above reproach: “Wild Boys” with a bit of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s classic “Relax” mixed in, and “Rio”.
My only complaint on the night: We were in the first row of the upper balcony, and the static stage backlights were seemingly aimed right at us. My eyes still hurt the next morning from staring straight into the blinding lights for two hours.
Although Tracy has seen Duran Duran before, 13-year-old her was still squealie and happy, and I had an amazing time. The combination of good friends, an excellent current album of material to work with, raw energy, an in-the-moment crowd, and a perfect song selection made for a great night!