Everyone is equal, everyone should be excellent to each other, and everyone should be supportive. No racist, sexist, or otherwise derogatory messages will be allowed here. We’re all one family, so be sure you act accordingly.

MCRmy members can support MCR in many ways. If there are promotional materials to distribute, you can help do that. You can also help by helping spread videos and news online when asked, or simply by talking to people you know about the band. You can help in any way that you feel comfortable.

Mar 28, 2011


When Duran Duran took the stage at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles last night for their UNSTAGED performance, directed by David Lynch, no one knew what to expect… including Lynch himself. The director’s only premonitions were taken from “great dreams about Duran Duran” of “spontaneous musical images” and a hope for “happy accidents.”
The production, streamed live for fans and lookie-loos around the world via YouTube, started off in a typically Lynchian manner (if such a thing exists): The director barked fan-generated questions in his familiar backwards-ish way at the four band members, demanding answers ranging from how they maintain benevolence in their music, to current influences. Was Nick’s response of “1950s sci-fi soundtracks” a sign of things to come? The band responded to each query with the utmost gravitas and respect. It was as if the inquisition was a kind of test, and once the master was pleased, the show could begin. Lynch snapped his fingers, and lo and behold, it did.

The internet audience was given the choice of three views, or ‘cameras’. Two were mostly fan-focused, the Funhouse Cam featuring the frolicsome crowd reflected in — you guessed it — a funhouse mirror, and the additional, perpetually swaying Swimming Fish Cam. Neither of those were views you would want to watch the whole time, rather they were amusing diversions during an extended show. These choices did, however, provide the attention-deficit Internet viewer with a chance to visualize what the rave scene in Matrix Reloaded would look like if it were shot in a karaoke bar. Thankfully, we were also provided with a special channel marked Lynch’s View, focused on the band and overlaid with dreamlike imagery. The shots were tight and didn’t quite capture the energy of the band playing off of each other, but did satisfy the keenly focused gaze of the fan-base.
The air disappeared from the auditorium as the instrumental Diamond in the Mind led straight into All You Need Is Now; all shot in stunning (and flattering) black and white, with dramatic visual overlays of smoke and whirling clocks — Durantime gone mad. A spinning penny and visual distortion, reminiscent of Clunie Reid, designer of the new album sleeve, announced to viewers early on that Lynch was both well-versed in, and appreciative of, the Duran aesthetic.

When Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance joined Duran Duran onstage for Planet Earth, one couldn’t help wonder if it was an attempt to win over the kids. Simon even nudged the audience with, “How cool is this?” Never has a thought been more fleeting, though, as the chemistry between Le Bon and Way absolutely electrified the 30-year-old classic. Cool indeed.
Friends of Mine was delivered with impressive snarl and swagger. Nick Rhodes’ sinister synths curling and re-coiling around the serpentine guitar of Dom Brown, framing the song perfectly for Lynch’s production. Written thirty years hence and in consideration of a future where “Georgie Davis (was) coming out,” the song sparred beautifully with the equally dreamlike Lynch visuals; the result, something gorgeous and outside of time: an artistically menacing dream state: one known, otherwise, as Now.

Like weddings, every big production has to have at least one thing go wrong, however. And this show was no exception; with the good-luck flub delivered by The Gossip’s Beth Ditto. A panting vision in hounds-tooth, Ditto arrived nervously on stage announcing that she’d “ran all the way from Portland,” and implored Simon to lead her. Unfortunately, the nervousness wasn’t an act, and Ditto forgot the words throughout Notorious, deflating what could have been a fiery duet . Le Bon shot a few daggers towards the blushing Beth, and the show swiftly ushered onwards. The first-time live Blame the Machines giving backing vocalist Anna Ross chance to strut her stuff, after which Simon delivered some (honestly) top-notch yelps during Hungry Like the Wolf.
With taste-buds alive, Mark Ronson – all serious looks and intent, and introduced as “at least 1/5 of the reason our record sounds as good as it does” – stepped in to take over guitar duties on Safe (in the Heat of the Moment); a song otherwise driven full-tilt by the flawlessly relentless John and Roger Taylor rhythm-machine. JT was then tasked with engaging in audience banter while the string section was set up. He seized the opportunity to plug the new album, only to be gently chided by Nick; and Simon told one of his trademark silly jokes, this time about a dog in a blender. Hey, it’s supposed to be wacky and surreal, right? The pause reminded us that even though the show is the coolest thing we’ve ever seen, it’s still “our boys” up there.

Things quickly resumed a cinematic air with a pristine version of Leave a Light On. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a shimmering mantel of sincerity, Le Bon and co. absolutely nailed it. Lynch drove this home with images of – what else – hammering nails. With subtlety damned, however, Ordinary World was to prove the evening’s only true point of pretense, when Brown’s guitars edging precariously towards overkill.
And yet… and yet: The hotly-anticipated appearance of Kelis, who was nothing short of stunning in a futuristic earring/nose-ring combo, was absolutely worth the wait. The Man Who Stole a Leopard is the jewel of All You Need Is Now, and Kelis’ vocals were exotic and alluring; the writhing purity of the tale trucking us deeper into the realms of the mystical. Then, with no intention of even trying to top such a high, Ring Master Lynch swerved us off further left-field, with Simon recalling (to order, one presumes) a quaint dream he had recently. Involving a caravan full of prostitutes.

Cue Ronson on guitar again: for Girl Panic, at which Lynch ignited our view with sparks, and the band took off into a hyperkinetic energy state. Going for the one-two, Duran then punched in with a fierce rendition of Careless Memories; and by the time the naked dancing Barbies arrived onscreen for Sunrise, and the collective do-do-dooos of Rio were rung, the whole conceit was well and truly up to bliss speed. With trick mirrors a thing of the past, the fantastic-looking crowd were clearly energized, the band were surging, as was – I would imagine – a raving Ethernet of Duran fans cabled around the world.
Pulling up just short of meltdown, there was just time for breath before Kelis returned to the stage, with haunting vocals that were suddenly – obviously – Come Undone: albeit one she helped take to a new high. Achieving the divine, even Lynch’s incoming visual of hand puppets and a barbecue grill full of hot dogs somehow made sense. Which is saying something.

But what comes up, must come down; and after just shy of two galloping hours, in shimmied the elegant Ronson architecture of the now obligatory Bond theme medley, culminating in the perpetually redeeming A View to a Kill. Of course that could not, would not be curtains; because no one should ever leave a Duran Duran show without witnessing Le Bon shooting stars amidst a climaxing Girls on Film; the edict of “the band designed to make you party” ceremoniously etched like the mark of Zorro upon the sweaty crowd. Mission accomplished.

As so to that delayed curtain; yet as the veritable orchestra of performers gathered for their well-deserved, collective bow, the mysterious Mr. Lynch was nowhere to be found. Everyone paused to look around, until Simon declared sharp as a tack, that perhaps the director had “teleported himself into another universe. Like this one, but better.” A statement of intent which, I reckon, should actually be used to sum up the sublime deliverance of the brave Duran Duran UNSTAGED. Brilliant.

No comments:

Post a Comment