Kim Wilde, AB Brussel (21/02/07): Girl of 46

It’s probable she became bored of raise tulips and azaleas. Kim Wilde, pop icon of the eighties but now mostly famous for her green fingers, has gone into the studio again. ‘Never say never’ is the result and is available in shops now. The records was also the reason for a new tour leading her to the AB, and reason enough for Wilde to get her leather pants out of the closet. A lot of people in the hall that were singing along to her records decades ago, wearing strange hairdos. It was obvious that people wanted a one way ticket to the eighties from Wilde.
Of course all her hits were there – the opposite would have surprised us. Her last album does contain reworkings of previous material after all. Wilde started off in the AB with ‘I fly’, new synthpop of the purest sort with a fat blink to the time that Wilde made the covers of magazines like Joepie with every new hairdo. But Wilde sounded hesitant mostly. We won’t think she had stage fright; but it was obvious that this was only her second stage outing since 14 years was very obvious. Giggling she did find the right notes, although we did have a hunger right up until ‘Never trust a stranger’. Hunger for the right notes, the right vibes and the sound that made her a world act at 21. ‘Never trust a stranger’ made good in one hit. Happy pop combined with edgy rock, a recipe with which many acts from that wacky eighties scored. Depeche Mode, to name one. A band that, Kim says, inspired her. And then she performed ‘Enjoy the silence’ like she never did otherwise. The past years Kim Wilde had a lot of time to think, but it didn’t lead to musical evolution. There’s 25 years between ‘Perfect girl’, a new song, and ‘Cambodia’, a song from the time that Pol Pot had barely left that country. Both show her love for strong melodies, hard guitars and girlish temperament. Both were cut from the same – predictable – wood. Now and then she took a softer approach (like the reborn ‘Four letter word’ and the Snow Patrol cover ‘Chasing cars’), then she hid behind a wall of sound, created by her brother Ricky. But Kim stayed the Kim Wilde we like to remember all night long. A girl of 46 in leather pants and naughty shoes. Horny and shy, persuasive without going too far. Grand finale ‘Kids in America’ could only strengthen that feeling.