CD Review: Duran Duran - Live 2011: A Diamond In The Mind

Former 80s poster boys prove they still have it.
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Duran Duran - Live 2011 - A Diamond In The MindWhen Duran Duran singer, Simon Le Bon lost his voice in May 2011, he didn’t know if he’d be able to continue on with the band. The group had to cancel a number of shows, including some in their home country of England and the wait over the summer proved tortuous. Le Bon persevered and the London shows were rescheduled for December 2011. The band came back strong, finishing with some of the best shows of the tour. These shows make up the new live CD, Duran Duran - Live 2011: A Diamond In The Mind.

These days, Duran Duran is four parts original, one part Dom Brown. Original guitarist, Andy Taylor, is once again on the outs with the band, having left in 2006 during the recording to the follow-up to 2004’s Astronaut, reportedly after being asked to (or subjected to, depending on one’s perspective) work with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. Brown now fills the lead guitarist role and while his playing lacks some of Taylor’s edge, he still plays the songs very competently.

The show opens with “Before The Rain,” from the band’s most recent album, All You Need Is Now. Le Bon’s voice shows full recovery in this moody, atmospheric ballad, drenched in keyboard overtones from Nick Rhodes. The band then travels back 30 years for “Planet Earth,” from its self-titled debut. Unlike many bands from the '80s, the band’s sound has managed to stay current as the songs pulsating rhythm could easily be heard on pop radio today.

The band asks fans to “dance into the fire” with "A View To A Kill,” the theme song to the James Bond movie of the same name. The track is not only one of the stronger Bond themes, it is a highlight in a set filled with many hits.

“Wild Boys” is surprisingly heavy here, with Brown’s power chords blending well with the song’s tribal drumming. As an added bonus, the band throws in a tongue-in-cheek cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax” in the middle of the song that fits seamlessly.

Of course, no Duran Duran show would be complete without “Rio” and “Hungry Like The Wolf” and the band delivers spirited versions of both, with John Taylor’s nimble bass lines propelling both songs.

Few bands that came from Duran Duran’s time period have managed to have the longevity they have had. The band goes well beyond its pretty boy image with strong live performances, making Duran Duran - Live 2011: A Diamond In The Mind worth having for fans of the band.