Date: 4 December 2004
Originally published in: Manchester Evening News (UK)
Written by: Gary Ryan
If the audience pondered where all the years had gone as the annual “Yes, I AM still alive”-fest unfolded, they had only to look at the waistlines of the acts to conclude: “There!”. Never mind warnings about strobe effects – “This concert may contain a Bucks Fizz member in a pink leotard” would be a far more useful caveat.
Even on the nostalgia circuit, there’s a hierarchy, and Limahl is relegated to opening slot. Living In A Box’s frontman hurls his arms in the air like he’s attempting to contact the dead. Then comes the first real coup: the re-formation of Bucks Fizz (in Here & Now terms, they’re practically The Smiths).
Original members Mike Nolan, Bobby Gee, Shelly Preston and Cheryl Baker are brilliant fun and hilarious; best described as S-Club meets a Werthers Original commercial. “We’ve been practising the dance routines every day,” says Baker. It shows. Before launching into each, they stand and concentrate, like Ninja warriors preparing for battle. Land Of Make Believe reaps the first crowd singalong, while – gulp! – Making Your Mind Up reprises the skirt-shedding routine.
The big guns, like Nic Kershaw, are saved for the final furlong. Belinda Carlisle’s voice is in fine fettle, rendering Heaven Is A Place On Earth anthemic.
Kim Wilde emerges as the night’s highlight, torpedoing around the stage in a leather catsuit. Entering to the dramatic sweep of Never Trust A Stranger, and flanked by brother Ricky on guitar, she has nothing to prove, but with rousing tracks like You Came, somehow proves it anyway.
Following up Kids In America is an unenviable task, and headliner Midge Ure doesn’t quite pull it off, despite beefing-up his back catalogue. As Greenwich Blue WKD Time kicks in, he’s jarringly earnest (life’s too short for guitar solos) for a tour like this.
His set culminates in an all-cast version of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? Cruelly, Kim is denied the Bono line. Still, at Christmas time – thank God it’s them instead of you.