Thursday, November 13, 2014

Duran Duran - Arena

Yesterday (November 12th) marked the thirtieth anniversary of Arena, the first live album from Duran Duran. The Platinum selling collection of some of their greatest hits to date charted at number 10 in Canada, number 8 in Australia and Finland, number 6 in the UK, number 5 in the Netherlands, number 4 in Switzerland, number 3 in New Zealand and number 1 in Germany and Italy. Here in the US, it spent twenty-eight weeks on the Billboard Album chart and peaked at number 4.

Although the label implies that the album was “recorded around the world 1984”, many speculate the entire show was recorded at the Oakland Coliseum in April of 1984 with studio overdubs.

Side one opens with “Is There Something I Should Know?”, a track that first was released as just a single but then showed up on the 1983 re-release of the band’s self-titled debut album Duran Duran.

“Hungry Like the Wolf” first appeared on 1982’s Rio (click here for that review).

“New Religion” and “Save a Prayer”, the following two tracks, also appeared on Rio; this was my first exposure to both. A single was released for this version of “Save a Prayer” which went to number 27 in Germany, number 17 in New Zealand, and number 16 in Switzerland and on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The first side ends with a new studio track. “The Wild Boys”, produced by Chic’s Nile Rodgers, was inspired by the 1971 novel The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead by William S. Burroughs. As a single, the song went to number 42 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, number 27 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 19 in Sweden, number 13 in France, number 6 in Norway, number 5 in Australia, number 3 in Spain, number 2 in Austria, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, and the UK and on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number 1 in Germany and Italy.

Side two starts with “The Seventh Stranger” which first appeared on 1983’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger (click here for that review).

Also from Rio came “The Chauffeur”. As I did not own a copy of Rio back in the day, this was my first exposure to this song.

“Union of the Snake” also appeared on Seven and the Ragged Tiger.

“Planet Earth” and “Careless Memories” also appeared on Duran Duran. Again, Arena was my first exposure to these two tracks as well.

I remember getting a copy of Arena on vinyl for Christmas in 1984. Having become a fan of Duran Duran’s in late 1982, this was my first opportunity to have many of these songs in album format. Of course, it was the only place to snag the latest single as well. Overall, for me, many of these live versions of the songs pale in comparison to the studio originals. Over the years, I have managed to collect those earlier albums as well.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Though I had been a fan since 1982, instead of buying Arena when it came out, I finally bought Duran Duran's self-titled debut album. My girly at the time did pick up the live disc and I have heard it exactly once. Have since managed to avoid any other Duran Duran live tracks or albums.

Picked up the Wild Boys 12" single with the drum orgy that is the Wilder Than Wild Boys Mix. I know most people seem to hate the song and that mix in particular but it is a personal favorite of mine.

Duran Duran had a bit fo a break-up as I ignored their next three studio albums after Arena but pounced on their second, self-titled album in 1993. "Ordinary World" and "Come Undone" remain well-aged tracks.

For the record I have more Duran Duran compilations than studio albums: 7-5.