To the untrained eye, the photo above depicts five humans of indeterminate gender. But, ladies and gentlemen, the faces you are looking at actually belong to the first men I ever loved: Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes, b.k.a. Duran Duran. (Please note, their official web site is ALSO powered by WordPress!) And tonight, I spent two divine hours with them in Central Park.
Thanks to Kiki, who called in a favor and secured tickets for us, she and my sister and I had the privilege of attending the first of two Duran Duran concerts in the park. Since I first fell in love with the band nearly a quarter of a century ago, I’ve seen them or some combination of them perform at least six times, but I’ve never been physically closer to or better able to see them than tonight. And I have to say that – despite their freakish appearance in this 1981 photo – Simon (turning 50 in October) and John (turning 48 on June 20) are still absolutely the hottest men I have ever encountered.
Furthermore, they happen to sound as amazing as they did in their heyday . I know. I know what you’re thinking. They’re talentless (vicious lie). Their lyrics are non-sensical and/or idiotic (not as vicious a lie). They’re just pretty boys (I don’t know what to tell ya. They’re pretty. Sue ‘em.). They’re like a spoof of a cheezola 80s band. That’s valid. The stage was adorned with two Ds covered in light bulbs. They themselves were adorned with black leather pants, black blazers, black button-downs and black skinny ties. With black and white bandanas around their arms for some reason. And make-up.
But honestly, I think they know what they are. I don’t think they were trying to pose as serious musicians, and I don’t think they were trying to be young whippersnappers. I really got the sense that they were having fun making their overgrown teenybopper fans happy. That they liked giving the audience what we wanted – an escape, an hour or two of 1984. Not at all to my dismay, I had a perfect view of John for the bulk of the concert. And I use as evidence the natural, playful way he interacted with the lucky bastards (all whores) in the first few rows. Of course, it’s also possible he was high, but let’s assume the best.
The concert included several highlights, including moving renditions of “Ordinary World” and “Save a Prayer,” during which Simon asked that we open and hold up our cell phones instead of the traditional cigarette lighters, even though it would annoy Al Gore. Much responsibility for singing was placed on us, and it is with great pride that I say our versions of “Girls on Film” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” should win Grammy Awards.
But the evening’s real joy was in its real joy. It will come as no surprise to you that nary a soul would use the words “sunny disposition” to describe me. Kiki and my sister both told me they couldn’t recall another time I’d gone so long without complaining, expressing a hypochondriacal concern, making a snide comment or experiencing some sign of panic. I just screamed and sang and danced like the tone-deaf, palsied dork that I am. I’m not sure exactly why I was able to behave in such a carefree, unbecoming manner. But for a little while, with Duran Duran in front of me, all was truly good in the world. Perhaps the intensity of my 12-year-old passion for these silly rock stars was so strong it still allows me to be transported back in time. Before cell phones and laptops and iPods and the internet. Before flat-irons and Brazilian bikini waxes and $150-jeans. Before marriage and divorce and global warming and September 11th. Before complete and utter failure. Perhaps, in that fleeting state of mind, I am able to forget that it isn’t 1984 and that my whole life isn’t ahead of me.
When the loves of my life left the stage at the end of the show, a group of Brazilians behind us began to chant, “DRIO! DRIO! DRIO!” A few minutes later, the band reappeared, singing about a famous woman who dances on the sand. Rather poetically, John was now sporting a Barack Obama t-shirt that read “PROGRESS” at the bottom.