Seeing Duran Duran in concert in 1984 was like seeing a video come to life. The group put on a spectacular show filled with impressive light shows and videos. Since the concerts featured so many visuals, the band could not vary the tempos greatly, resulting in music that nearly replicated the studio versions of the songs. Arena accurately reproduces the sound and feeling of these concerts. Duran Duran sound tight and professional (probably due to studio overdubbing), yet Simon Lebon sounds a little winded, possibly because of all the dancing he had to do during the course of the show. The new Nile Rodgers-produced single "The Wild Boys" was added to the album as bait and the strategy worked: peaking at number four, Arena was Duran Duran's highest-charting album and it sold over two million copies. Nevertheless, it's the most inconsequential album in their entire catalog, even if it's fun.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine