Duran Duran at the Warner Theatre
2003 Reunion Tour, 09.11.03
a report by Mary
It's been a couple days now since I saw Duran Duran for the third time in my little nearly-24 year old life. The first two times I had the incredible fortune of catching 2 of Warren Cuccurullo's last 3 shows ever with DD and I count myself extremely lucky for that. But this time would be different - the first time to see all three Taylors on a stage together with LeBon and Rhodes! I hadn't counted on exactly HOW hard it would be to get tickets when they went on sale through Ticketmaster on October 18th. The week before the tickets were available, I knew MoreMusic104 would be giving away tickets on the Haber and Erin morning show so I listened religiously every morning starting the 13th, hoping I'd get my chance. They didn't give anything away until the 17th. So on Thursday, the 16th, I was in my car on the way to work and heard them giving some clues for the ticket giveaway. You were supposed to listen to the clues and call in when you figured out what song, by what 80s artist, they were talking about based on the clues. They first gave 1-second snippets, and then doled out word clues. First, an audio clue - I had no clue what it was. Then a word clue - "this band had three brothers in it." I scratched my head. New Kids on the Block? No...there were only two brothers in that...who else could it be? Then a series of more snippets, and more clues..."members of this band later went on to form the band 'Checkpoint Charlie'"...snippet..."this song's video had a dwarf in it, who went on to star in the 'Leprechaun' movies..." OMG! I know it! Rather than get into a major accident (I was still a minute away from my office) I had just about squealed into the parking lot and furiously dialed the number for the radio station on my cell. I could have killed myself then b/c I hadn't bothered to program the number into the speed dial. It was busy...but I tried again and I couldn't believe it was ringing! When they finally put on Haber of the morning show I yelled into the phone "Men Without Hats - The Safety Dance!" He sounded relieved a bit b/c I guess a bunch of people had called in - trigger happy and not even having a guess - and I'd gotten it..."Mary, you've won the tickets!" Well needless to say I screamed my head off. (No matter that I didn't get the tickets until the 29th of October, and my dad had to go to the station to get them. I was going and I could save the money on merch!) Now I'm wondering how many people were mad at me that day - maybe not that many b/c they hadn't realized how old I was and the fact that I didn't get cable - and thus MTV - until 1993. I've always said I've have an encyclopedic knowledge of useless music trivia and this time it panned out. But really - what other '80s video can you recall that has a dwarf in it beside the one by Men Without Hats?
Okay, so that was pretty exciting. What else was pretty cool was that a co-worker of mine - both she and her fiance are big DD fans - won tickets AND the Greatest DVD off Mix107.3. So really, I think for a while our office was glowing or something b/c we just happened to be really lucky when it comes to Duran. She was in row O and I was in row Q and we saw each other at the show. Before the show I had dinner with Jenni Chase (the late morning/early afternoon DJ from 104) and the other winners from the station. One of the other winners was Simone (Rhodiemental) so we local Duranies finally met. Jenni is a very cool person to be around and it makes it all the more special for the fact that she is a Lebonaholic and is a huge fan of Duran. The other winners were Charity and her husband Mitch (both forensic scientists in Manassas - Mitch said his favorite DD song was "The Relapse" and we all laughed), and Marcus and Sheree (from Frederick). My cousin Jennifer came with me to the concert, her husband Ed was so relieved that he wasn't getting dragged to a Duran concert! (They had tried unsuccessfully to get tickets to the July Vegas shows at the Hard Rock and the August show at Webster Hall in NYC). It was one of the coldest nights of the whole year Sunday night - in fact, Monday morning, Dulles Airport broke the low temperature record) and before dinner me and Jennifer were scoping out frocks at Banana Republic (ha!) - we saw people lining up by 6 and didn't get it - I mean, it's not a GA show, and why freeze your buns off? Us radio station peeps lined up at 7:30 and only spent 10 minutes outside in the cold. I caught a glimpse of Sarah (redsexy) but was too shy to speak up and say hi; she hugged Rhodiemental and I think she went off to light a ciggie. My cousin and I got in and bought shirts (she bought the baby blue flower one with the tour dates on the back; I got the black one with the Japanese influenced silver mums on it), whilst trying to dodge the people who were buying up drinks. There was a lot of black - los of leather, some letterman jackets, some old '80s shirts (I saw one girl with a Loverboy t-shirt). I have to say, I was taken aback by the size of the venue. It looked like a high school auditorium! Row Q was a lot closer than I thought and looking back now, I'm really glad I wasn't any closer b/c as it was, my ears were blown out for the entire show anyway, but I could hear something once we left. (My voice was another matter...) So there we were in row Q, seats 101 and 102 (right next to the right hand aisle, on Andy and Nick's side of the stage).
The concert started about 8:30 PM to thunderous applause and screaming. I swear, the floor was shaking with all the noise. At the beginning, the five of them stood in a lineup of sorts on the edge of the stage, with the epileptic lights going on and off. It reminded me a bit of the beginning of the last 'N Sync concert I went to (don't hurt me but they were wearing astronaut suits and lined up like that too - but Duran had no spacesuits!). Simon said something about it being "the best looking crowd that D.C. had seen in a long time." I was confused b/c I wasn't sure if he was referring to us or them! Launching into "Friends of Mine," I looked around and noticed I was the only person in my area who knew the lyrics. Yelling "you're never easy on me...you're about as easy as a nuclear war" and such. Haha. Simon was taking journalistic license and shouting some of the lines. I wondered if I was the only person who noticed that Simon sounded really nasal - a bit like Fran Drescher if you ask me! but I'm not complaining...much...because they addressed this problem after playing the next two songs. JT was playing his wood grain bass and wearing a gray jacket; I couldn't see Roger very well (b/c his high hat was blocking my view) but he had his favorite black Tama drums; Simon wore a half-buttoned black short-sleeved shirt with a long-sleeved, flowy white shirt on top, and spent most of the evening teasing us with his very suggestive moves, which were encouraged by enthusiastic whoops from the crowd. (See Britney! You don't have to be naked to be sexy!) Nick was on a riser behind Andy and I couldn't see him that well either; Andy was with the sunglasses - as predicted - and most of the night had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. "Hungry Like the Wolf" was an event b/c it was like the whole auditorium was singing along and the ground was moving. I'm not kidding. There were cheesy people in the boxes up above doing '80s dance moves - I believe these are the people that rioduran reported had a "Freebird" sign! John looed in their direction a couple times as if to say, "oh my god, stop that!" After that was "Planet Earth," which Simon obliged us by predicting when us SBS lovers would shout "switch it on!" *giggles* By this time a couple of the roadies had frantically run onto the stage even during the numbers and after "Planet Earth" Simon apologized for "technical problems" and explained that they needed a little intermission to fix the problems. I think the main problem was that Nick was having trouble with his Powerbook but I'm not entirely sure since I wasn't up close. It appeared that Roger and Andy were also have some problems, so the lights went up and there was a mad dash for the bar (again) and the bathrooms. I've never seen people drink so much at a concert. Maybe it's because most of the other concerts I've gone to have been filled with people who weren't legal yet...but I wasn't used to it.
Finally they were back up and running and there was a definite sound difference - for the better - after the break. They started with "Come Undone," in which Simon recommended the crowd to "grab someone you love for this next one." This is my favorite song of Duran's and it was great, along with these lacy, purple projections behind the band. After that was "What Happens Tomorrow" which I had only heard from the Star 98.7 broadcast months ago - and as I had guessed it was absolutely fabulous in concert. Then "New Religion," which was like a real religion in that in this one JT and Andy were singing backup and never sounding better. I really must thank JT sometime b/c several times during the concert he walked over to Andy's mike and stood next to him while singing backup - if he hadn't done that I would have never seen him, because there were two 6' guys in front of me who were blocking my view. I did not appreciate their girlfriends suddenly appearing (gee, how convenient) after the lights went down and I really, if I wanted to, could I have called security to haul out their butts but I was being generous that night. Security kept pushing me back and DuranDuranDC saw my predicament so DDD knows what I went through that night. I am not tall - I am barely 5'3" - so having two football-sized monsters in front of me was NOT a happy experience. Once one of the staff tried to take my binoculars but then apologized for making a mistake - I think there were cameras everywhere and they were starting to get desperate. I heard some people getting hassled about their phones too. They took my bottle of water but managed to miss my camera (weird right?)…
Anyway, back to the concert. Next was "Is There Something I Should Know?" (the Atlantic City people got "Anyone Out There" instead, which I'd heard in Japan so I didn't mind missing this one) and everyone's head was bopping along with the song, with Andy and JT's backing vocals reaching an amazing timbre. However, up to this point, it did not prepare me for the beauty of "Beautiful Colors." I think this was the 2nd time ever it's been played live, and it was every bit as beautiful as the title. The color show that went with it was something else - an easter-egg palette of yellows, blues, and pinks and it was obvious from the looks on the boys' faces that they were just having a blast. JT kept flashing those huge grins and Andy, cig in mouth, was grinning too. "Nightboat" was punctuated by the further darkening of the theatre, with Simon appearing with a large flashlight, panning it around and examining the crowd with the light. The next two songs - "Ordinary World" and "Save a Prayer" had people swaying and some people tried to keep their lighters lighted - why, it boggles my mind because they weren't supposed to be doing it anyway! - and you wouldn't have believed the cheering. (The cheering however was upstaged soon after in the show.) You know how Hypo complains about hearing "Save a Prayer" and not wanting to hear it again? I feel the same way about "Ordinary World" - sorry folks! The highlight of "Ordinary World" for me was watching, with my binoculars, Nick drink from his water bottle during the intro.
Next up was "Notorious" (with the "We Are Family" bridge) that Simon started with "I say NO NO NO...you say...", pointing to us and with all of us answering "Notorious!" Duran funk had never sounded so good. But the crowd exploded when they began the heavy beats of "Wild Boys" - maybe this had something to do with the fact that JT was jumping up and down like a crazed lunatic, causing everyone in the audience to this same, and the whole room shook. I hadn't realized until that night that it was Nick who made those "monster" noises in the song with a voicebox (you know, that thing that Peter Frampton popularized?) - interesting. The vertical sets of lights were going off, alternating orange and white lights - in time with the backbeat of "wild boys! wild boys!" Two more before the encore - "Careless Memories" (which reminded me of a Barenaked Ladies song in retrospect b/c like in "New Religion," there are a lot of words in that song and I just end up singing the chorus!) and "Rio" (you knew they had to do this one...) The lights were still dark onstage so I just waited for the encore, which was "The Reflex" (again, thunderous, thunderous shouting and applause and people yelling "flex-flex-flex-flex-flex...") and then "Girls on Film" (which I believe was the Carnival or dance version b/c I didn't get a chance to yell out "I need money honey" after "wider baby, smile you just made a million" (in this version Simon replaced the last verse with extended "shooting star" verse version). A scantily-clad in black woman in heels jumped up onto the stage during the song and Dave (their head bodyguard) wrestled her and got her offstage. (I wonder if this is the same weirdo from Atlantic City.) After the show was over, they all dropped their instruments and made their way to the front of the stage, and started shaking hands with some of the VIPs. Whew! I tried clearing my ears by swallowing but it didn't really work - but my ears regained hearing status after we went out of the theatre (by a side door - there was a mad dash to get out through the main exit) and back into the cold, dark Washington night…
Some miscellaneous notes. I thought it was awful that some people sat - or dashed out for more alcohol :P - during the two new songs. I guess they only wanted to hear the oldies. IMO you can only hear the old stuff how many times before it starts to get stale. Honestly I'd rather have a new album of new material then to have DD legging around doing "Rio" and "Hungry" over and over again, night after night. I'm not saying I wouldn't see them in concert again but you get my drift, yes? I think Simon needs a better harmonica or needs to practice b/c he was hopelessly out of tune for a couple songs ("Save a Prayer"?) - this is not a knocking of Simon but rather just something to point out, as they had a guy on saxophone in Atlantic City (no, not Andy Hamilton). I had a feeling they weren't going to do any songs from Medazzaland or Pop Trash (b/c no Warren) but I had counted on "White Lines" so it was a bit of a disappointment not to hear that - "White Lines" always got a good reception in Japan. Oh yeah, and sory that there are no pics. They were being quite strict with cameras and I saw some folks being dragged out of the theatre - I don't know what they were doing to warrant that, but I thought maybe it had something to do with their cameras. I was still a little mad at those nerds in front of me and their girlfriends - morons. There was also this girl who was trying to dance her way upstage. Every time the event staff dragged her back to her seat, she'd throw her arms around the guy and try to smother him with kisses. Yeah. That works. Not. I think this drunkard was the same one who slapped me on the back during the stage - was it that beer talking, lady? - and her friend tried to put her on her shoulders so she could see better (I was a nervous wreck b/c I figured I'd be taken out - physically - if she fell from her friend's shoulders). Honestly, I think everyone had a decent view and I'm really sorry if I blocked anyone by stepping into the aisle - I was trying to see the guys, that's all! (If you have a beef with me over that and you're a fan - no problem, I'll move gladly - just tell me next time.)
And before I exacerbate my carpal tunnel syndrome...that's it from me, your Washington correspondent. Over and out.
[posted 12.11.03, setlist added 16.11.03]
1.09.03 Warner Theatre setlist
FRIENDS OF MINE
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF
~TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY INTERLUDE~
WHAT HAPPENS TOMORROW
IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?
SAVE A PRAYER (SLB guitar/outro)
NOTORIOUS ("We Are Family" bridge)
GIRLS ON FILM (alternate version)