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Duran Duran (Tuesday, March 22, 2005, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN)

Duran Duran - Photo by Ellen Von Unwerth
By Sean Sauder

I'm a big fan of Duran Duran, and I had been eagerly anticipating this show for some time. But my excitement couldn't help but come with a bit of disappointment when it was announced last week that guitarist Andy Taylor would be leaving the tour indefinitely to return to the U.K. to be with his ailing father. I a fan of Andy Taylor’s work with Duran Duran and of his solo work, so I was really looking forward to seeing him.

Despite only half the Xcel arena being used for this show, there were still many empty seats. However, what the crowd lacked in numbers, they made up for in enthusiasm.

As for song selection, the excellent new album, Astronaut, was well represented, and the band did a good job of including most of the older tunes fans expected and wanted to hear. The only real "hits" missing from Tuesday’s set were "Is There Something I Should Know?" and "New Moon On Monday".

Though the first 15 songs of the set provided a few highlights for me ("Hungry Like The Wolf", "Ordinary World", "Save A Prayer"), the band seemed to be going through the motions, and I admit to getting a little bored. At one point, singer Simon Le Bon introduced the next song as "Come Undone", and when the band started playing "Union Of The Snake" instead, he was forced to correct himself. A friend of mine who saw the show a week earlier in Las Vegas (with Andy Taylor) told me that the exact same thing had happened there.

About 3/4 of the way through the show the band finally kicked into gear with "Nice" (from Astronaut) and kept up the intensity through the rest of the show, salvaging for me what was turning into a bit of a disappointing evening. At this point that the light show and animated sequences that were being projected on screens behind the band began to play a more pivotal role too. "Careless Memories" took on a more guitar oriented rock sound than on album and was definitely a highlight.

The band, that currently consists of Simon Le Bon on vocals, John Taylor on bass, Nick Rhodes on keyboards and Roger Taylor on Drums was rounded out by guitarist Dominic Brown in Andy Taylor's place, Andy Hamilton on saxophone, and the excellent Anna Ross on backing vocals.

Sean Sauder is ssauder@mn.rr.com


See also: Pioneer Press review by Ross Raihala

Set List

(Reach Up For The) Sunrise
Hungry Like The Wolf
Planet Earth
Want You More
Union Of The Snake
What Happens Tomorrow
Come Undone
I Don't Want Your Love
A View To A Kill
Astronaut
Tiger Tiger
The Chauffer
Ordinary World
Save A Prayer
Bedroom Toys
Nice
Notorious
The Reflex
Careless Memories
Wild Boys

Encore

Girls On Film
Rio