The two discs in this volume contain the fourth of seven complete live sets from the 2003 re-formation of Duran Duran. The combo were captured during their "78-03" Summer Tour of Japan and the Southwest United States. These include the collective efforts of Simon Lebon (vocals), Nick Rhodes (keyboards/vocals), Andy Taylor (guitar/vocals), John Taylor (bass), and Roger Taylor (drums). The band teamed up with online vendors themusic.com, to create the Duran Duran Encore Series of unedited soundboard/mixing desk sonic souvenirs to provide not only a keepsake of this historic gathering, but also to quell the inevitable inferior quality and traditionally over-priced bootlegs. This is the first of two dates in Tokyo at the venerable Budokan. During their brief excursion, Duran Duran have taken a majority of the show's running order from Duran Duran (1981), Rio (1982), Seven and the Ragged Tiger (1983), and the aptly-titled Arena (1984) -- which netted them a total of four Top Ten long-players and nine Top 20 singles. On these reunion outings, they draw heavily from that back catalog, breathing fresh passion into their undeniably stylish new wave persona with the equally modern pop vibe that created a multi-media sensation throughout the first half of the decadent decade. While "New Moon on Monday" is conspicuous in its' absence, the rest of the hits, as well as key album sides, and even a few recent compositions, yield a standard running order that doesn't vacillate on the Japanese leg of the tour. Their return is marked by the same combination of palpable enthusiasm and unmitigated chic. This was much of the substance behind "Is There Something I Should Know," "Reflex," "Hungry Like the Wolf," and "A View to a Kill," as well as "Come Undone," "Ordinary World," and "Notorious" -- all three of which were first done by later lineups after both Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor had been replaced. The packaging is relatively simple, yet visually compelling with a gatefold cardboard sleeve sporting the date and location on the front, and track listing on the rear. Inside is a concurrent group photo, as well as a collage of vintage memorabilia.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer