Duran Duran was one of the first non-metal bands I got into as a budding teenager. My slow segue way from Judas Priest, Icon, and Scorpions cut-off tees into Spandau Ballet leisure suits was abetted by my friend Mike. He indoctrinated me into the cult of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax" while conning me into believing I'd meet girls at a Wham concert in Philly, a show that saw them opening, AND closing, with "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". But at Mike's house, the recurring soundtrack to our suburban malaise was always Duran Duran's Arena, a live record culled from their Sing Blue Silver tour after the release of their Seven and the Ragged Tiger album. Full of really weak vocals from Simon LeBon, ham-fisted riffs from Andy Taylor, and a hastily produced single, "Wild Boys", thrown into the middle of a live set?, it's clear that without the visual images of young attractive Brits to accompany flimsy ditties of unquenchable sex drive, the music loses its vitality. A few DD nuggets are included, "Is There Something I Should Know", "Hungry Like the Wolf", "Save A Prayer", but the exclusion of their hits "Rio", "Girls On Film", and "Reflex" is inexplicable ("Rio" and "Girls On Film" were included as part of the 2004 reissue). John Taylor, Duran Duran's other token pretty boy, is the most musically competent in the group, steadying the band with some fortified bass licks, and free-flowing locks. Arena is one for the vaults, meaning it should literally be sealed in a vault and forgotten about.
Buy this record if you're trying to make sense of your youthful transgressions.