Duran Duran Warehouse Live April 6, 2011
Check out our slideshow from the show.
The Duran Duran frenzy began last night before the band even took the stage. Droves of women indiscreetly huddled around the band's tour bus before the show, anticipating a mere glimpse of the '80s pop-rock idols. As band members trickled into Warehouse Live, women screeched with uninhibited glee. And just like that, it was 1982 all over again.
Birmingham's beloved took the stage to a roaring and rapturous crowd. Decked out in sleek black suits, shimmering shirts, and leather jackets, the band looked striking and suave; perhaps a little less 'New-wave Punk' than those nostalgically familiar 80s promos, but otherwise it appeared time has been kind to frontman Simon Le Bon and co. And their hair - was perfect.
The band battled the still-shrill crowd as they began opener, the title track from their 13th studio album, 2011's All You Need Is Now. "We're here to entertain YOU!" Le Bon announced to his receiving crowd.
Five pillars of brightly beaming lights illuminated the stage, as hit-after-hit kept the crowd dancing nonstop. Crowd-pleasing classics like "Notorious," "Hungry Like the Wolf," and "Reflex" were matched by new AYNIN material including "Runway Runaway." Le Bon described AYNIN ballad "Leave a Light On" as "a song about being completely lost and having somebody else find you," before confessing it was one of his favorite songs the band has written. While we appreciated the momentum change-up, "Light" was perhaps the only song that seemed to momentarily lose the crowd.
Le Bon paired his characteristic proud poses and dance moves (we swear we spotted a pirouette) with welcome insight into the songs. "This song is dedicated to absent friends, wherever they maybe," he reflected, introducing endeared 1993 single "Ordinary World."
Though single-heavy, the setlist spanned DD's catalogue, including their 1981 self-titled debut ("Careless Memories") and 2004's Astronaut ("Reach Up For the Sunrise").
If the first set had left a doubt in anyone's mind that DD is responsible for some of the worthiest singles in our time (er, times - the band is clearly timeless), their encore only cemented the notion.
"All Duran Duran songs are about sex," Le Bon affirmed, sending the front-row's many female fans into a further frenzy. "This one especially," he continued, as the band began wistful 1993 single "Come Undone," fans' hands swaying in the air.
"Can I have your attention?" the frontman posed. "Turn the lights on and look over here - we want to take your picture," he continued, as flashing strobe lights flashed amid the sound of a loud, familiar shudder-flash. The Duran-savvy crowd cheered in instant recognition of one of the band's finest singles, 1981's "Girls on Film" - a textbook mix of pop, rock, melody, and sex.
During the song's breakdown, Le Bon introduced each band member before treating us to a comical spoken tease of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face."
As the set neared its end, it was clear: Duran Duran is exactly where they should be - and perhaps more importantly, where they want to be. While some doubt band reunions and their motives, it's evident this band is a genuine, well-greased (and well-groomed) resurrected music machine.
As the lights brightened, the band abandoned their instruments, walking to the foot of the stage as they bowed in thanks and blew kisses to the crowd. "Serving Houston for over 30 years," Le Bon laughed, "as they walked off-stage, pointing and waving to the crowd until they grew out of sight.
Personal Bias: Le Bon should have a table in front of him at every show, to overturn during "Hungry Like the Wolf."
The Crowd: Suspected former Duran Duran groupies (awesome) and wistful fanatics.
Overheard in the Crowd: It's a tie: "Who's got the X?" and (I kid you not, spoken in all seriousness) "Starving Like the Wolf."
Random Notebook Dump: Saxamaphone.
All You Need Is Now
Hungry Like the Wolf
Leave a Light On
Girls on Film
Poker Face (tease)
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.