Perth will be pulled into an 80s timewarp as chartbusters from the decade of dayglow T-shirts, skinny ties and permed mullets bop into the Burswood Dome tonight. The Here & Now concert makes its Australian debut in Perth starring Human League, Kim Wilde, Paul Young, Belinda Carlisle, Go West and locals Mondo Rock and 1927. The concept was launched in Britain three years ago, with Wilde, now a 42-year-old mother of two and a television gardening expert, deciding to step back in time.
"I went into it with the idea that it would be my swansong," said the singer behind hits Kids In America and You Keep Me Hanging On. "Then here I am three years later."
Though they all enjoyed success in the 1980s, most of the acts did not meet or become friends until performing on the Here & Now concerts.
"Back in the 80s, we were all too busy chasing fame around the world and doing our own thing," she said. "We were probably a bit shy of each other in those days. Now all that's gone away and we can have a nice time and get to know each other."
Young, 47, recalled appearing on a German television show with Wilde, but did not summon up the courage to approach her. Wilde said she thought the soulful singer of Wherever I Lay My Hat and Come Back And Stay was "a bit of all right". Young laughed: "Now you tell me."
"All these years later," joked Wilde. "What could've been? I think I ended up dating Adam Ant instead."
While Wilde is in semi-retirement from music, Young continues to produce new material. He said he was fighting being pigeonholed as an 80s artist, but realised he had to play his old hits. "If I don't do them I'll be lynched," he said. "It is an exercise in nostalgia, but what you balance it up with is the fact is that it is a big laugh."
Wilde added: "And it pays quite well."
Artists from her and other early periods are swarming the touring circuit, realising there is still plenty of money - or filthy lucre, as the Sex Pistols called it - to be made by returning to the stage.
The Here & Now tour kicks off a busy time in Perth for oldies but goodies, with Fleetwood Mac, Meat Loaf, Boz Scaggs and Joan Armatrading, Cold Chisel, Dionne Warwick, America, Billy Thorpe and others scheduled to visit.
Tickets for most of those shows are selling well. Fleetwood Mac's two February concerts at the WACA Ground sold out quickly and Meat Loaf has sold out one concert and announced another in March at the same venue.