Rio: Classic Albums Series (DVD)

Duran Duran

Eagle Vision, 2008

REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


So friggin’ cool. Talk about an insider’s view. If you’ve always wanted to know how some of the most memorable albums were made, then by all means check out this Classic Albums series of DVDs -- you won’t be disappointed. This time around, the four current members of Duran Duran and their support team take us into the studio, as well as into the history of the band that has been around for 30 years.

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the quintet’s most successful album, Rio, Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor reconvene in London and Boston for a series of interviews and live performances of the disc’s best tracks. Among the absent are gifted guitarist Andy Taylor (who quit the band for a second time last year) and producer Colin Thurston (who recently passed away after a long illness). Both men are greatly missed, but are given ample mention and are paid tribute in the course of the DVD’s two hour runtime.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

We are treated to a seat behind the engineering sound board where the magic first happened in 1981. Each distinct part of such underrated masterpieces as “Save A Prayer” and “The Chauffeur” are isolated as individual tracks so that we can hear how all the elements ultimately blended together to form a seamless aural work of art. Master keyboardist Nick Rhodes and drummer Roger Taylor are featured at the controls the most, though bassist John Taylor supplies some handy guitar demonstrations and lead singer Simon LeBon explains his complicated songwriting process.

As a bonus, this disc features a ton of tour footage and clips from their first brush with fame back in 1980. Not only that, but we get to hear from director Russell Mulcahy, the man behind so many of those on-location music videos that raised the bar over at MTV. What’s so fascinating is how instantly recognizable Duran Duran’s images have become. The videos have become as important as the songs themselves; they are that indistinguishable from one another. Riding the elephant in Sri Lanka for “Save A Prayer”…on the yacht for in those silk suits for “Rio”…in the tropical jungle heat for “Hungry Like The Wolf.” Now do you remember?

All of this adds up to a treat for the senses and an amazing trip down memory lane. The boys even agree to play five songs live in an undisclosed location in Boston. Seeing them perform live in front of an arena-sized audience as I did on New Year’s Eve 1993/4, I can attest to what a great live act they are. I’m a little miffed at my fellow Daily Vaulters for not recognizing how influential Duran Duran have been; as if I have to justify that they ARE an actual rock band that can really PLAY. Don’t take my word for it, just ask Sir Bob Geldof (who makes a cameo appearance in helping to give DD credit where credit is long overdue).

And though their records haven’t been up to par in recent years, this group is still together coming up with some new ideas. Somehow they always find a way to stay fresh and relevant. So with that I have to pay homage and say, “Congrats on your longevity, Duran Duran, and cheers for a job well done.”

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2008 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Eagle Vision, and is used for informational purposes only.