Vitality Kim Wilde comes from a test tube

Pop concerts are much more of a cosy experience than football matches. The audience is as one behind the artist. Spectators don’t molest one anothe rand there is no organisation like the KNVB who has to define the amount of expulsions after a red card. That is a generalisation, of course. But with Kim Wilde, who seems to have been created for the teenagers of the eighties, you get these associations.

Wilde debuted eighteen months ago with singles like Kids In America and Chequered Love, on the RAK-label of music producer Mickey Most. It sounded familiar, smelled of new wave and had a lot of similarity to the up-tempo beat of Blondie. Contrary to Deborah Harry, Kim Wilde didn’t have a long time to grow up or get any experience in the club circuit. Kim – her family name is in fact Smith – is the daughter of Marty Wilde, a rocker who was a serious competitor of Cliff Richard in the Fifties. Her brother Ricky is also in the business.

For Ricky, who did some production work for Mickey Most, Kim did some backing vocals. That’s how she ended up in the business herself. Most saw her, heard her and saw the profits; the modern veni vidi vici of big business. After the first two singles the machine didn’t jam, as is the case with so many made up stars.

On the music of Ricky and lyrics of her father Marty Kim sang songs like Cambodia, View from a Bridge and recently Child Come Away into the charts. And I have to say, these are songs that compare well with a lot of contemporary material. Especially in Cambodia and Child Come Away Ricky Wilde has made up arrangements that do away with previous comparisons to Blondie. They are also songs, in which Kim Wilde shows for the first time that she really can sing. Her voice has something boyish and supple, although she doesn’t have a natural sound, but especially in the lower register something melancholy appears.

So what happens next in a career in pop? Kim made two albums, but couldn’t avoid the litmus test: the live stage. Because only there it is shown whether you are really worth anything as an artist. With a carefully selected backing band (with on drums the fantastic Trevor Murrell and on keyboards Graham Pleeth, known from Fischer Z) Kim Wilde works her way through the continent in order to be able to face the much more critical British audiences.

She doesn’t do too bad, sings reasonably pure, moves well. But Kim doesn’t show she is above her material, that she can get a song across or transfer an emotion. The whole show looks very well directed with a leading lady who doesn’t stray from the scenario one millimetre. Kim Wilde shows a youthful innocent vitality for 90 minutes; but one that comes out of a test tube.In practice that yields a few highpoints: Child Come Away is sung with passion, the Chiffons cover When The Boys Happy is done neatly, but Falling Out is sung off-key throughout. Not a bad debut, but not a born singer either.