Duran Duran – review

Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

"We put this song out just when everyone thought we were finished, in 1993," says Simon Le Bon, introducing Ordinary World. "Well, 18 years on, all of the people who thought that can kiss my arse!"

It is indeed ironic that Duran Duran have proved such resolute survivors. Roundly mocked as plastic pop by the Keep Music Live brigade when they first formed back in the post-punk/new wave days, they have hung around to the extent that they are poised to celebrate their 30th anniversary with the release of a 13th studio album, All You Need Is Now.

It is laudable that the band have continued to make new material. They could easily have joined the greatest-hits touring circus a decade ago. But their Mark Ronson-produced latest will not add to their legacy as one of the great singles bands. Of the tracks premiered here, Being Followed is a dreary plod, while Leave a Light On sounds like a turgid take on old favourite Save a Prayer.

Le Bon's voice remains a shrill, strained yelp, but its shortcomings are forgiven by an indulgent crowd who loyally greet unremarkable new songs as enthusiastically as ancient hits such as View to a Kill and Notorious. The Reflex remains a compelling, preposterous slice of synthpop genius, a reminder that, unlike their artier peers, Duran Duran never strove to be anything more than glossy mainstream popstars.

It is a professional, slick evening, but as the beaming band encore with their 30-year-old breakthrough single, Girls On Film, it is hard not to reflect that they are a band who made a little go a very long way.


Ian Gittins

The GuardianTramp

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