Reviewed Dec. 9, 1997.
With its 20th anniversary approaching next year, Duran Duran will be able to toast the ’80s new-wave dance hits that helped define a generation. And the audience of twenty- and thirtysomethings might argue that the mere presence of singer Simon LeBon and keyboardist Nick Rhodes is enough to warrant screaming like crazed teenagers. But the impressive light show and sparkling silver backdrop taken from the “Electric Barbarella” video set couldn’t hide the fact that Duran Duran is far from thrilling — barely a skeleton of what it once was.
LeBon, sashaying his hips and furnishing hit-and-miss vocals, isn’t enough of a frontman to make this show move the band forward, even while crooning such Duran classics as “Save a Prayer,” “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Girls on Film.” At times, LeBon sounded young and excited; other times, especially on “View to a Kill,” he seemed to be straining.
Most amusing was the tongue-in-cheek slow dance number that accompanied the new “Be My Icon,” in which his slowed-down and spacey movements seemed contrived rather than connected with the music.
Stand-in bassist Wes Wehmiller and drummer Steve Alexander did yeoman work, though guitarist Warren Cuccurullo, who is now considered a full-fledged band member, was left noodling mostly in the dark. Nearly obscured by his layered keyboard and computer setup, Rhodes held forth with a solid presence, supplying the familiar dance beats that provided the sharpest elements of the show.