Ultra Music Festival

Duran Duran Delivers the Glitter at Ultra Music Festival 2011 Day One, March 25

Guy in gasmask, pointing toward Duran Duran's lead singer Simon Le Bon: "My dad totally hated that dude!"

Girl in smiley face bikini: "What? Him? Why?"

Guy in gasmask: "'Cause my mom really, really, really wanted to fuck him. She was crazy obsessed with that song about a wolf or whatever. It made my dad mental!"

Now in addition to reminding you that Simon Le Bon was once (say 1982 through '88) a Brit sex bomb so potent he could destroy American households via MTV, this dumb little exchange between two 20-ish Ultra attendees is a fairly accurate depiction of how Duran Duran was received by a crowd full of people who weren't even born when "Hungry Like the Wolf" chewed its way through the video charts.

"These guys are, like, my parents' age!"

But that's just the brashness (and brattiness) of youth. Sure, Simon Le Bon is 52 years old. He can still sing, though. And the rest of Duran Duran -- Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor -- can still play their parts. These New Wavers haven't been seized by vocal chord paralysis and arthritis just yet.

Scheduling Le Bon and crew right after synth-poppers Erasure made sense. They're from the same era. They're from the same country. And they're both bands from the post-punk UK scene with longstanding (though sorta peripheral) connections to dance music.

So you'd think these factors would swirl together an appropriate audience. But Erasure played a solid set to a scattered and lukewarm crowd. And it was the same deal for Duran Duran. Until ... They played a radio-perfect version of "Hungry Like the Wolf" and all the ravers came alive with instant recognition, semi-ironically flailing their arms and even singing along with Le Bon: "Mouth is alive with juices like wine/And I'm hungry like the wolf."

From that point, the snotty youngsters' sideways slams went silent as Duran Duran orchestrated speedy song sequences -- old to new to old. Le Bon crooned breathy 1993 hit "Ordinary World" and the ravers swayed. "Girl Panic!" off the band's new album All You Need Is Now proved they're still gurus of the glittery four-minute pop cut. And encore, 1981's "Girls on Film," massaged everyone's Ecstasy-engorged nostalgia zone.

Even that guy in the gasmask had shut up. Although, given Le Bon's surging silver wolf sexiness, he might have been staring glassy-eyed at the stage 'cause his skull was being flooded by raw, disturbing images of his mom and Simon doing animalistic things to each other in the middle of the Sri Lankan jungle.  

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S. Pajot