"The Spaghetti Incident?"

Set lists and a little bit of Rock

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Wild Boys Duran Duran Auckland Concert

Duran Duran

Where: Vector Arena, Auckland

When: Wednesday, March 26

Reviewed by Nicholas Russell on good old Stuff

Every babysitter in Auckland must have been on duty when Duran Duran took to the Vector Arena stage on Wednesday night for their first ever headlining gig in New Zealand.

You could say most of the audience remembered the 80s really well - evidenced by their enthusiasm for the hits that propelled the English 'yacht rockers' to 85 million album sales.

From the minute Duran Duran walked on to the stage the seats were for handbags and it stayed
that way for the whole two hours.

Lead singer Simon Le Bon still manages to look sexy at the age of 49 and the high kick he pulled out for The Reflex would have had most men his age crawling off to the physio.

Classics like Planet Earth and James Bond theme song A View to a Kill got the party started, but cracks began to show when they stopped midway through the set and lined up across the front of the stage with synthesizers and an electric drum set.

The first show of a world tour is a bit like popping into a restaurant on opening night - there are bound to be teething troubles.

In this case it was during the "Electroset" as band members swapped bemused looks as they struggled to get the sound right.

They restarted two of the songs and stopped to fix a few faults - at one point they were left standing in front of their synthesizers like confused cashiers in a supermarket.

A less experienced band might have lost their momentum, but Le Bon casually laughed it off as "f**king up in style".

Bassist John Taylor called it "a work in progress" and the fans were happy enough with the dance floor beats, but when the band swapped back to their instruments for a fantastic rendition
of Rio the crowd erupted.

At times it seemed the audience was hanging out for the hits but were content to wait through some of the newer material.

As expected the band didn't get the same rise for new single Falling Down off Red Carpet Massacre as they did for the song straight after, Save a Prayer.

Save a Prayer was the first crowd participation moment of the night and fell a bit flat as the audience butchered the chorus - twice. They later redeemed themselves when lending a hand to a raucous rendition of Wild Boys.

Despite the "Electroset" issues, Duran Duran were as slick as you would expect considering their years of experience, but it felt like they interacted better on the older material and seemed to be finding their feet with new songs like Nite Runner and Skin Divers.

You've got to give them credit for trying as it would be easy to rest on their laurels and be a Duran Duran tribute band.

No-one struts quite like Le Bon and he proved it during the final song of the night - Girls on Film - as he took time out to introduce the band, which killed the song.

But it didn't really matter. If you took a Duran Duran hits checklist with you to Vector Arena you would have crossed off nearly every one - and that left punters well satisfied.

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