November 1984: Duran Duran Step Into the ARENA

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

As 1984 rolled to a close, Duran Duran had plenty to celebrate. The band finally conquered America, with a number one hit ("The Reflex") and a Top 10 album in Seven and the Ragged Tiger. The outfit's "Sing Blue Silver" world tour of 1983-84 had been a massive success, prompting the band to capture the moment with its first live album, Arena.

The album--released November 12, 1984--arrived with one new song:"The Wild Boys," a raucous single produced by Nile Rodgers of Chic. Preceding the release of Arena by a few weeks, the track was another big hit, climbing as high as #2 on the Hot 100. Hall & Oates' "Out of Touch" and Madonna's "Like a Virgin" blocked the tune from ever achieving the top spot.

Being at the peak of their commercial powers, Duran Duran went all out with the release of Arena. It landed with a bevy of corresponding projects, including a conceptual concert film, Arena (An Absurd Notion), a corresponding tour documentary, book, and even a board game.

An alternative edit of the movie, As the Lights Go Down--a straight live performance minus the plot elements--was turned into its own feature for broadcast.

Arena was yet another success for Duran Duran, peaking at #4 on the Billboard album charts as it landed under Christmas trees and inside holiday stockings around the country. The live record proved to be a pivotal album for Duran Duran: it marked the last time the group featured the complete original "Fab Five" lineup on a full-length recording. When the band returned two years later with Notorious, they were just a trio, now minus two of the Taylors, Roger and Andy.

So for all of the excess that marked the group--and this release--at the pinnacle of the band's success, the wide range of projects and products around Arena effectively captured and chronicled the last glimpse of what made Duran Duran, well, Duran Duran.