The two discs in this volume house one of seven complete live sets by Duran Duran during their "78-03" Summer Tour of Japan and the Southwest United States. This set finds the boys at Century Hall in Nagoya, Japan, with the quintet of Simon Lebon (vocals), Nick Rhodes (keyboards/vocals), Andy Taylor (guitar/vocals), John Taylor (bass), and Roger Taylor (drums). Cyber vendors www.themusic.com, in conjunction with the band, have fashioned the Duran Duran Encore Series with complete and unedited soundboard/mixing desk releases of all seven shows. While they never formally broke up, this particular lineup had all but retired by the mid-1980s. Their accomplishments speak for themselves -- no less than nine Top 20 hits gleaned from the Top Ten LPs: Duran Duran (1981), Rio (1982), Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983), and the aptly-titled Arena (1984). For these reunion outings, they draw heavily from that back catalog. While "New Moon on Monday" is conspicuous in its' absence, the rest of the group's hits, as well as key album sides and a few recent compositions go into creating a more or less standard running order that doesn't vacillate -- at least not on the Japanese dates. In fact, the only differentiation at all is the inclusion of one of the newer pieces, the lilting and moody "Still Breathing," which follows in the same vein as "Chauffeur" from Rio. Quite a few of the standards are given exceptional readings, especially the deeper cuts "Friends of Mine" and "Night Boat," as well as the more familiar "Planet Earth," "New Religion," "Is There Something I Should Know," "Reflex," "Hungry Like the Wolf," and "A View to a Kill." This is equally true of "Come Undone," "Ordinary World," and "Notorious" -- which had been originally recorded after the Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor era. The packaging is relatively simple, yet visually compelling with a gatefold cardboard sleeve sporting the performance date on the front, and the track listing on the rear. Inside is a concurrent photo, as well as a collage of vintage memorabilia.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer