I'm squashed between the crowd of mostly 25- to 35-year-old females, waiting for the show to begin. Tonight, unlike the last two shows I saw here (The Strokes and Deftones), downtown Atlanta's Tabernacle is clearly the destination of many a "girls' night out"—or rather a night out for girls who haven't been to a concert since they saw Bon Jovi in high school. They cheer after every song played over the public address system, perhaps thinking this will make the band come out sooner. They don't realize a band without a warm-up act never takes the stage until at least 30 minutes after the alleged start time.
Finally, the pre-show music cuts. Synthesized bass notes begin pulsing through the sound system. I put my ear plugs in as the cheering rises to a deafening squeal. The house lights go down. This inspires more cheering and squealing, ruining the eardrums of many unprepared, unenthused husbands and boyfriends. A few minutes go by before bright lights begin slowly strobing on stage. Still, we see nothing more than some smoke and the instruments we've been staring at for the last hour.
Suddenly, five forms appear, heading toward the front of the stage. They stand there for a minute but it's near impossible to make out their faces amidst the pulsing flashes. Then I notice one of them is wearing a white coat. Rock star. One is wearing sunglasses. Rock star. For a split second, the bass player's trademark gravity-defying hair is illuminated. Rock star. One by one, they take their respective places on stage—we finally see them in full rock-show light.
The quintet opens with a new song. Nobody knows the words but that doesn't stop them from dancing, waving their hands in the air and recklessly spilling their green apple martinis. But when the band starts into the second song, the level of insnanity reaches a new peak, if possible, and the the fans in attendance rabidly shout along with every word of a song they've been blasting from their white VW Jettas for years. I'm singing along, too, trying to do so in a way that says, "Hello. I am a Duran Duran fan... in the most macho fashion possible." And as I sing along with the voice I've heard only on record for most of my life, I think, Is it bad that, though I'm supposedly a legitimate music journalist, the concert I've most anticipated in my short career is Duran Duran?