While flipping around on the television this evening to try to find something to have on in the background while I made dinner and took care of the various other minutia before getting side tracked chatting about the draft online, I stumbled on channel 661. This has been one of those channels that they have been playing musical stations (pun intended) with. It is now Palladia, apparently part of the MTV family. Not holding that against it, I tuned in to see the end of an HD Duran Duran concert (repeat showings 3/6 at 3pm, 3/20 at 5pm, and 3/21 at 11am). I couldn't help thinking that even as old guys, they still put on a great show. I was actually watching a bunch of their old videos on youtube over the weekend, marveling at how many great songs they had, and seeing the concert reinforced that.
How they are not thought of as one of the great bands in history is a mystery to me. I'm not sure any of their contemporaries pumped out more hits. And while most of it was pure pop, they did have some songs with a little more edge like Wild Boys and also could slow it down and produce a great ballad like Save a Prayer. As the 80's wound down and they started changing line ups, the hits started drying up. But for about a 7 year stretch, there was nobody better. One interesting fact I just discovered is that none of the 3 Taylors - Roger, Andy, and John - were related. That seems really unlikely.
Anyway, after the Duran Duran concert concluded, a show on U2 started up. Throughout, all I could think was what happened to them? How could they have gone from writing amazing songs like Sunday Bloody Sunday, Pride, and With or Without You to churning out garbage like Lemon and Discotheque? Hitting their peak at the Joshua Tree, they seemed to do an about face. Rather than fading into anonymity, on subsequent albums they seemed intent on destroying their image of having a social conscience and instead sold their souls for fame and fortune. They have become a caricature of band that hit it big and didn't know what to do. Putting on ridiculously over the top stage shows to hide their increasingly sub par music and publicly making asses of themselves to keep their faces in the news. It's sad really, particularly when you consider the people they used to be. But ultimately, no matter how far they've strayed, they are still the band that used to write great songs and since the show didn't venture into the new garbage, it was enjoyable. Particularly in glorious high def.