Monday, August 21, 2000

Duran Duran's getting better with 'Pop Trash'




By Jay Webber
Enquirer contributor

        As an adolescent male in the 1980s, it was decidedly uncool to find any interest in the music of Duran Duran. Sure, their sound was creative and their most memorable songs had infectious hooks. It didn't matter. These guys wore makeup, these guys had blown-dry hair. Get caught whistling “Rio” and pay the consequences.

        Two decades later, Duran Duran is still releasing new material. Saturday night, in the shadows of some of Paramount's Kings Island's more popular attractions, the British trio brought their Pop Trash tour to TimberWolf Amphitheater.

        The current Duran Duran lineup consists of Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes, both founding members, and Warren Cuccurullo. While Pop Trash has been greeted with sluggish sales both at the record stores and on tour, the turnout at TimberWolf suggested plenty of Duran Duran fans remain in this part of the country.

        The two-hour show alternated between the many Top-40 hits of yesteryear and the best selections from Pop Trash. Quite surprisingly, the new stuff completely outshone the familiar.

        Beyond “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “White Lines”, much of Duran Duran's back catalog simply failed to impress. “Save a Prayer” was tedious and others, such as “All She Wants Is”, and “Skin Trade” were forgettable.

        The Pop Trash selections, however, were another story. The psychadelic-pop “Playing With Uranium,” with a dramatic montage of scientists and atomic testing as a backdrop, was the best five minutes of the evening. The straight-forward British pop of “Mars Meets Venus,” with lyrics humorously lifted from personal ads, and “Hallucinating Elvis” were both great fun as well.

        While his band mates kept a lower profile, Mr. LeBon was engaging, personable and having enough fun to, at one point, stop everything to watch one of the thrill rides in the park descend.

        The evening ended with a completely gratuitous double encore which finally begat “The Reflex.”

        Neither this nor any other hit was whistled on the way home, though the stellar “Playing With Uranium” sure was. Hey, that's not like whistling “Rio,” and plus, the styled hair is a thing of the past. But just to be safe, please don't mention this to my old classmates.

       



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