Date: 18 December 2003
Originally published in: Evening Chronicle (UK)
Written by: Kate Lowery
Eighties fashion may be on the up, but is the public ready for a revival of the era that introduced us to the wonders of synthesisers, New Romantics, bad hair styles and miming as an art form? From the anticipation that emanated from the jubilant audience, my initial guess would be yes.
However, having been born during the 80s, I was left at a loose end when some of the lesser known acts performed their hits. But at least the fans who were there at the time enjoyed it.
Bringing back a wave of nostalgia for man, the likes of ABC, Five Star and Kim Wilde took to the stage and knocked the audience dead.
Opening group China Crisis were justifiably at the bottom of the bill and did little to warm up the crowd. And although T’Pau, reunited for the first time in 12 years, belted out China In Your Hands with pizzazz, it seemed the ingenuity that made the music scene during the 80s so original and rebellious was genuinely lacking.
It was only Heaven 17’s rousing rendition of Temptation with some thrilling vocals that got the Arena filled with enthusiasm and got people off their seats.
Howard Jones (wearing a seriously dubious yellow jacket) demonstrated his flair for showmanship by playing various instruments and UV bulbs lit up the stage as he barely stood still proving that there is still some life in him yet. His biggest hit, What Is Love, may bring back memories of a childhood spent listening to old 45s, but it was Five Star whose slick dance routines and professionalism while performing System Addict and Can’t Wait Another Minute really struck a chord.
ABC looked more Saturday Night Fever than 80s flair in their white suits but were crowd pleasers all the same.
And it was only when Kim Wilde took to the stage that things really took off. She bantered with the fans, sang You Keep Me Hanging On and Kids In America and donned a reindeer hat to get festive for her energetic reworking of Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.
This left it all down to headliner Paul Young, who looked the part of a sophisticated crooner with talent but unfortunately seems to have lost his edge. This could have been due to technical problems, but the 80s icon’s voice failed him on many an occasion and the once beautiful Where Ever I Laid My Hat was disappointing.
So, is 80s music going to make a comeback? Maybe, but only if they start to attracting bigger stars than this – where were The Jam, The Cure or Duran Duran? It was a synthesised dance-fuelled evening of times gone by and I am sure it evoked some great memories.