Kim laughs about her own incompetence

She is a bit bigger than she used to be, but still blonde. Kim Wilde. Dressed in a not too flattering ‘biker chique’ – glitters, chains and leather pants – she performed live in a sold out Paradiso. That outfit might have been tough if she hadn’t started giggling about her favourite Dutch product, the “stroopwaffle”, after which she fell down on the stage with a bang. And that ungracious start might have been overcome had she sung better. But how off-key she sang! She made a mockery of it with her lack of range: her eighties hit ‘View from a bridge’ even drowned in a laughing fit about her own incompetence.

It seems they can’t be eradicated: eighties phenomena. First the Human League and Billy Idol returned, now Kim Wilde is back on stage. They can still count on a lot of credit with their audiences – remarkable, since even in the eighties they didn’t have a great live reputation. But still the series of hits that Kim Wilde scored between 1981 and 1989 attracts enough curiosity to attract a full Paradiso. In 1992 she stopped her singing career in fact, after which she devoted herself to horticulture. In 2003 she was pulled out of anonymity because of the duet ‘Anyplace anywhere anytime’ with the German singer Nena, another eighties phenomenon. That song was a number one hit in several countries, such as the Netherlands. The album ‘Never say never’ followed, on which Kim Wilde alternates new material with new versions of old hits such as ‘Kids in America’ and ‘Cambodia’. The audience was determined to have a party last night, and so got a laughing Kim through a set with many unknown songs and covers of Depeche Mode and Snow Patrol. It ended up being fun only at the end, with the disco-kitsch version of The Supremes’ ‘You keep me hangin’ on’ and the immortal ‘Kids in America’. It was pure pop poetry thanks to that one beautiful sentence: ‘I search for the beat in this dirty town’. The beat was there. Now the voice.