These two discs feature a complete soundboard recording of the seminal Duran Duran lineup of Simon Lebon (vocals), Nick Rhodes (keyboards/vocals), Andy Taylor (guitar/vocals), John Taylor (bass), and Roger Taylor (drums) live in Osaka, Japan, on July 7, 2003, on the opening night of their seven-date "78-03" summer tour of Japan and the U.S. Southwest. The group, in conjunction with www.themusic.com, have gathered music from all the shows for the Duran Duran Encore Series, which contains unedited mixing desk-quality audio from each gig. A glance at the set list reveals a bulk of the material consisting of familiar titles that would define the combo. "Planet Earth," "New Religion," "Is There Something I Should Know," "The Reflex," "Hungry Like the Wolf," and "A View to a Kill" are among Duran Duran's nine Top 20 hits that came from their equally successful Top Ten LPs: Duran Duran (1981), Rio (1982), Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983), and Arena (1984). The two hours are likewise marked by well-executed readings of "Come Undone," "Ordinary World," and "Notorious," as well as the cover of Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines" -- all of which were initially documented during the Warren Cuccurullo (guitar/vocals) era, after both Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor had left to pursue other interests. Arguably the most satisfying elements for longtime enthusiasts will be the dead-on accuracy and youthful vibe they inject into deeper album cuts such as "Friends of Mine" and "Night Boat." During the Japanese leg of the tour the show settled into a fairly stable running order that didn't vacillate. One exception to that is the slight amendment to the encore as "Rio," "The Reflex," and "Girls on Film" are interchanged. "Still Breathing" is one of the better concurrently new tunes and recalls the ethereal romanticism of "Save a Prayer" or "The Chauffeur." The packaging is relatively simple yet visually compelling, with a gatefold cardboard sleeve sporting the performance date on the front and a track listing on the rear. The inner panels include a still photo as well as a vintage memorabilia collage.
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