There may be four months to go before Kim Wilde graces a Newcastle stage again, but already she's getting excited about it. At 42, and looking sexier than ever, she can't wait to slip into her leathers again, bleach up the hair and belt out the hits that made her one of the biggest female pop stars of the 80s.
Kim co-headlines the Here and Now Greatest Hits tour, at Newcastle's Telewest Arena in December, which will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the ever-increasing list of gigs heading this way over the coming months. Now that the relatively quite summer season is leaving us, it's time to get the readies out to book your tickets for top shows to remember.
All musical tastes - from Kim to Christina Aguilera, Status Quo, The Coral, Kelly Rowland to Radiohead - are being catered for. But few are likely to have quite the same atmosphere as the Here and Now show, on December 17.
"It's just before Christmas, so there should be a real party feel to it," says Kim, a broad smile breaking out through those famed pouting lips, which brought us classics like Kids in America, You Came, Four Letter Word, Love Blonde and Cambodia. "I'm really looking forward to coming back to Newcastle. It will be my third Here and Now tour there. The last two have simply been overwhelming and astonishing - humbling. I felt such a warmth from the audience. No one was there to see me trip up, this woman who started off in the business 20 years ago. No, they wanted me to be good, I could really feel that, and I want to thank them for their support. It really changed me. The first tour totally blew me away. It was really good for me. I'd spent a few years having babies and turning into a mum and it was a real shock to the system to be touring with all the leathers on again."
"But it was great for me. It got me back into shape - emotionally as well as physically. It was a real shot of adrenaline to do it and it did me lots of good. And I got really good reviews, and now I'm now doing it for the third time."
Kim, who has just enjoyed a huge hit in Europe with German 80s star Nena, says the Here and Now shows were cathartic for her. "I had a career that was a real rollercoaster. One minute I would be the favourite flavour, then I would be nobody. They would give with one hand and then take away with the other. It was a frustrating career in many ways. I was never really sure how to really appreciate it in lots of ways. I got so used to being knocked and not having hit records, it made me forget all the times I was happiest and that I had some fantastic records. Eventually everything that was negative in my career crowded out all that was good. Doing these tours has re-dressed the balance. They've made me realise how pleased and proud I was of my career after all and how wonderful some of the songs I'd recorded were. It certainly was cathartic."
Kim's busy collecting songs for a new CD - "It's going to be a real rock chick album," she says - and juggling being a mum with her other commitments. Actor hubby Hal is currently wowing crowds in a production of High Society in London, and Kim has shed most of her workload over the summer to look after their children Harry, five, and Rosie, three. "I've had a fabulous time with them," she gushes. "Back in the old days it didn't make any difference at all how much time I spent at home. My whole life was my career. But that's not the case any more. I've got lots of different commitments - gardening, designing, writing. Music is still very important, though, but it's not more important. What is more important is my family. First and foremost, always. But I do love slipping into my leathers every now and again - even at 42!"
Kim is riding high in the European charts with Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime, her duet with German star Nena. "I was over in Europe doing some Here and Now stuff," she explains. "I heard Nena was going to be re-recording her greatest hits, which at the time I thought was a bit bizarre. I was asked to do a duet with her, did it, and thought no more about it. But the album just took off. I mean, Nena is hotter than Madonna in Germany at the moment, in all seriousness. Her records are massive, and our track was released as a single. It has really brought me back into the public arena in Europe. It's been great, and so unexpected."
The record has gone top 10 in Germany and Switzerland and went to number one in Austria.