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Duran Duran powers through opener at Wynn Las Vegas

What’s great about Duran Duran coming to town is you find out how many of your friends once wanted to marry Simon LeBon.

The messages rolled in as I posted during and after Thursday night’s opener at the Encore Theater. “Marrying Simon LeBon was on my bucket list!” and “I was certain I was going to marry Simon LeBon in the ‘80s” and “It was Simon LeBon, then John Taylor, if Simon didn’t work out.”

Such widespread naivete is the byproduct of early 1980s MTV fame. Duran Duran ruled that network just after its inception. LeBon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor might all be in their 60s now (well, not might — they are), but can still rock to telegenic effect, as they showed in their debut at Wynn Las Vegas.

The band returns Saturday, and again Oct. 30 and 31 for Halloween-themed shows. The guys are filling the room, and fast, though LeBon makes it seems as if its not such a challenge. “Compared to the places we normally play,” he said at the start of Friday’s show, “this seems like a well-appointed bathroom.”

What was reinforced in the Encore lid-lifter was there is so much more to Duran Duran than their days cavorting through “Rio,” “Girls on Film” and “Wild Boys.” The band is a powerhouse, the riffs are rad and the volume is jacked up. There’s little debate that Duran Duran is worthy of its Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nod. That induction is coming in November.

Thursday night’s highlights were plentiful and sentimental, while also contemporary. “Wild Boys” started it, a natural singalong. Same with “Union of the Snake” and “Notorious,” goaded along by LeBon’s suggestion the crowd go ahead and air out the vocals.

The ballads scored, too.”Ordinary World” was a moving dedication to the people of Ukraine. The high-ascending “Save a Prayer” showed LeBon at his finest, a song that caused the crowd to sway.

And I have argued this point with James Bond fans for years: My favorite Bond theme is “A View to a Kill,” with its wild synthesizer and Taylor’s rumbling, low-end bass. They played this during “Live Aid,” kids, and are playing it again. The crowd roared through the “dance into the fire” refrain as if singing to a new Bond song.

And, “Invisible” and “All of You” off the band’s latest release, “Future Past,” showed Duran Duran is not flagging, some 40-plus years after forming.

The band displayed visual splash, of course, LeBon in silver slacks, a bright-green leather jacket and a series of T-shirts (ending with “Union” over a snake, so you are reminded of the title of that hit song). John Taylor is still whippet-thin and effectively tattooed. The platinum-maned Rhodes, especially, has not changed his look over the past 40 years.

As this was a weeknight in VegasVille, many locals turned out in the sold-out audience. Seated around the venue were UFC President Dana White, SPI Entertainment exec Alex Schechter, Vegas bass virtuoso Steve Flora and the ever-rocking Todd Kerns (of Raiding the Rock Vault), who was seated to my right.

Different personality types, for sure. But we stood the whole time, and we all knew the words.

‘Boom’ time

On Wednesday night, CeeLo Green led a conga line through the theater Elvis made famous.

That moment alone might be enough reason to check out “Boombox,” the hip-hop traipse through time at Westgate’s International Theater.

As it is, CeeLo fulfills his promise to be the host (as always, with the most) in this collection of rap, hip-hop and R&B artists. Dressed in a bright-white Adidas T-shirt, sweatsuit with black-and-white glasses, Green belted out a segment of “Crazy” at the top, and “Forget You,” (with its original, profane lyric) at the end. In between he led a rowdy conga line up and down the theater’s aisles.

But that’s too long between numbers, and not enough Green in this show. “Boombox” runs through Sunday, returning Sept. 28 to Oct. 2.

Kid ‘n Play joined as co-hosts of sorts, joking that “Boombox” was sponsored by Icy Hot and Bengay because of the treatment the performers would need after the show. Co-founder Christopher “Play” Martin has just turned 60, and Christopher “Kid” Reid is just two years behind him.

Thea Austin of Snap did perform through an injured Achilles tendon, soldering through a long-running take of “Power.” J.J. Fad swept through “Supersonic.” Tone Lōc rang it up with “Funky Cold Medina” and “Wild Thing,” drawing an onstage dance party of random groovers.

That moment worked, as the crowd flourished alongside Tone Lōc for “Wild Thing.”Less apparent was the reason for the opening-night appearance by Tom Higgenson of Plain White T’s, who performed the hit “Hey There Delilah” on acoustic. Imagine CeeLo or Tone Lōc turning up in the middle of a Plain White T’s show, and you get the disconnect.

Whatever the surprises, the show’s template, vibe and even stage set brought to mind “I Love the ‘90s,” which ran for about six weeks in late 2019 at the Paris Theater. The giant boombox in the middle of the stage, and flanking DJ and drum risers seem to have been pulled from the Paris Theater. Say this for “Boombox,” it is truly a sustainable Las Vegas residency.

That show was also co-produced by Seth Yudof, who played some lead guitar (in silhouette) for a few moments, in another unbilled segment. He and Jimmy Maynes, who also partnered in “I Love the 90s,” are back with what is essentially a tweaked version of that show.

Aside from Kid ‘n Play, the cast has been swapped out from the “I Love the ‘90s” days (no Salt n Pepa, En Vogue or Mark McGrath in “Boombox”). But the challenges are about the same now as then. International is a 1,600-seat room, usually the home of Barry Manilow, and a serious ticket-selling lift for this scale of production.

And not to belabor the obvious, competition is stiff among Las Vegas resident headliners, and all shows generally. But the “Boombox” does own familiarity, energy, and a friendly ticket price (listed at $29, not including fees). Westgate has hit the mark with R&B acts, including Kool & The Gang, who light up the International Theater (back Oct. 8 and 9), and “Soul of Motown,” which has settled into a successful run at Westgate Cabaret.

We have CeeLo, too. He’s an artist we can get behind, anytime, especially in the conga line.

Cool Hang Alert

We have a double shot of rock tribute at Count’s Vamp’d Rock Bar & Grille at 6750 W. Sahara Ave. Children of the Grave (a tribute to Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne), and Kiss Generation (a tribute to Kiss) play 9 p.m. Saturday. No cover. Walk-ins welcome. Table requests 702-220-8849. And if you see the proprietor,Danny Coker, ask to see his cellphone. You’ll flip out, and so will the phone.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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