Review – Kim Wilde Live at the Town & Country Club, London

Opportunism is something that Kim Wilde has always had an eye for. So she probably wouldn’t have minded had she known that the local pub was billing its night’s entertainment as ‘5 Kim Wilde soundalikes’.
But judging by the queue for last minute tickets it didn’t seem to be proving that succesful a marketing play. The Real Thing was in town tonight, and that’s something that hasn’t happened for 3 years.
This being her only UK date had added to the old nit-pick that Kim cannot sing unless she’s wearing a pair of headphones in a studio. And that only the dedicated die-hards who were only interested in hearing her hits rattled off in quick-fire succession would show. But the majority of tonight’s crowd looked like recent converts and eleven of the 18 song set was taken from Kim’s latest album, “Teases & Dares”.
A little nervous at first, having sneaked on stage to the hail of a guitar echo and a backdrop of three Kim Wilde faces cruelly censored at the lips, she didn’t settle properly until the fourth number, the Motown-influenced ‘How do you want my love’. By then she’d already put paid to the single, “View from a bridge”, but the band seemed a bit too eager to please and it became a trait of the evening that the mellower songs would be a better vehicle for her talent.
Another new ballad, “Brothers” was dedicated to her brother Ricki, responsible along with father Marty for most of her songs, before calling on the services of “And Mama Used to say” man Junior for “Another step”, an up-tempo duet.
When he eventually let go of Kim’s hand she was able to unveil the best number of the night, the infectuously catchy ‘She hasn’t got time for you’, equally as good as Madonna’s adaptations of black soul ballads or a George Michael epic.
But there were to be no comparisons with George taking place in the next song – Kim’s anthem, ‘Love blonde’, complete with Marilyn Monroe stage background and a one minute snip of the Peggy Lee classic, ‘Fever’ by way of introduction.
A raunchy ‘Chequered love’ is followed during the encore by the one they’d all been baying for, ‘You keep me hangin’ on’. Kim, overcome with gratitude, responds by playing it again singalongastyle. And she leaves the stage an evidently relieved person (she’d just spent the last three days in bed with acute bronchitis) nearly everyone files out with cheesy, self-satisfied grins.
“You’re all my friends here tonight”, she’d said earlier between songs. Some of you I already know intimately, and I’ll probably get to know the rest of you in time.”
And as every bloke here tonight knew, all good things come to those who keep hanging on.