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Lively, Inconsistent Set From Power Station

POP MUSIC REVIEW

September 16, 1997|SANDY MASUO

Twelve years ago, the Power Station posed an intriguing proposition: Mix two parts new wave dance pop (Duran Duran bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor) with two parts old-school dance pop (Chic drummer Tony Thompson and producer Bernard Edwards) and toss in one suave frontman with an eclectic track record (Robert Palmer).

The result was an album in which style didn't just triumph over substance, but annihilated it: waves of compelling rhythms driving an opulently produced collection of feeble songs. The group toured once with singer Michael Des Barres replacing Palmer, then disappeared until this year.

Supporting a new album, "Living in Fear," the re-formed Power Station--Palmer, Andy Taylor, Thompson, bassist Manny Yanes, second guitarist Luke Morley and the Uptown Horns--turned in a lively if dicey performance on Sunday at the House of Blues. New material suffered from the same weaknesses as the old--too much flash and not enough ideas--but that didn't daunt the crowd, which quickly warmed up to Palmer and company.

The set featured some of the singer's stronger solo material--"Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)," "Simply Irresistible"--which gave the evening some much-needed musical integrity. But after a single encore, an enthusiastic rendering of Palmer's biggest hit, "Addicted to Love," both musicians and audience beat a hasty retreat, prudently choosing not to push their luck.

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