Rolling back the years at Breamore

The bobbing heads of the pogoing masses were greying at the temples and the banter between songs had more to do with babysitters, gardening and parking charges than sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. However, there’s no doubt that Breamore thoroughly enjoyed rolling back the years in the company of some of the biggest chart acts of the 80s.

Saturday night saw Breamore Proms, staged in the grounds of the Elizabethan manor house, successfully recreate the decade of big hair and power ballads. Altered Images, Toyah, Paul Young, Belinda Carlisle, Kim Wilde, Bananarama and Kid Creole and the Coconuts made up an impressive line-up.

Having clocked up dozens of 80s hits between them, there was no shortage of quality material on which to draw – songs which were belted out with as much gusto by the crowd as by the artistes. A large part of the audience was on its feet and dancing from the first note to the last, with classics like It’s a Mystery, Heaven is a Place on Earth and Robert de Niro’s Waiting, going down as well with a new generation of fans as with their parents.

The stars were clearly having a whale of a time and, possibly as a result, some of their renditions could charitably be described as enthusiastic, rather than note-perfect but the audience seemed unconcerned, happily filling in the high notes their heroes missed.

Kim Wilde was a notable exception – despite having turned professional gardener, her set was particularly polished and her high-energy performance of Kids in America was one of the highlights of the concert.

It was all good fun – auguring well, should the organisers decide to make the Breamore Proms an annual event. As Clare Grogan of Altered Images put it: “This has made an old bird very happy.”