Review – Kim Wilde + support China Crisis at Birmingham Symphony Hall – 16th September 2022.

A special night tonight here at the beautiful Symphony Hall in Birmingham, we were going to be entertained by a true pop icon of the 80’s. She holds the record for being the most charted British solo female act of that era. Not only an icon, but also a voice of that generation. The inimitable Kim Wilde. 

Celebrating over 40 years in the business this Greatest Hits tour was originally planned for 2020 but like so many gigs covid put a halt to that. 

But first to warm up the crowd with a short thirty-minute set were the duo Gary Daley and guitarist Eddie Lundon collectively known as China Crisis, an 80’s new wave politically-charged band who had a number of top twenty hits and are also celebrating 40 years performing. 

They had great harmonies and Gary along with his brilliant scouse sense of humour has some impressive chops on him, there were plenty of fans whooping and whistling after each song and their big hit ‘Black Man Ray’ received a little crowd participation. There were some lesser-known numbers but they kept the hits going with ‘Wishful Thinking’.

Gary managed to get the crowd all handclapping with his humorous banter and telling them they sang like mice earlier on.  Ending their set with ‘King in a Catholic Style’, they were there to warm the audience up and they did their job well. 

A short break then the artist everyone had come to see tonight would do her stuff. 

Kim looking sensational in black and red leather with matching red gloves began her set with her 1985 hit ‘Rage to Love’ complete with her exciting band with its legendary two drummers.  Kim’s niece Scarlett was on backing vocals and always by Kim’s side the man responsible for producing and writing so many of the songs we would hear tonight, her brother and confidant the legendary Ricky Wilde. 

There was a lot to get through tonight so Kim wasted no time. Three songs in she took a pause and said hello to the crowd, telling them how much fun she’s had on this tour and they were ready for a lot more tonight.  

The cover of M’s ‘Pop Music’ with Ricky on lead vocal had his daughter Scarlett teasing him and he found it hard not to laugh: they made a great pair. Kim mixed the night up with songs from her 2018 album ‘Her Come the Aliens’: we heard ‘Kandy Krush’ and ‘Birthday’. ‘Aliens’ is her 14th studio album and gave her more chart success, but it was the hits people wanted to hear most of all and Kim certainly delivered throughout the night.  

This group are not just a band, they are a big family of musicians who just love to perform and have fun. Scarlett bouncing around the stage is a star in her own right, the double drumming was just incredible and you can see the love that everyone has for each other. 

This was an all-seated concert but most of the audience were on their feet dancing and singing along to everything, many of the front row had made their way up to the stage and Kim was posing during songs for their phone cameras. 

There was quite a funny moment when Kim’s love for gardening came out and she went totally off piste and started talking about courgettes and tomatoes, the crowd seemed unimpressed but it made the band and Kim laugh. 

A few songs that Kim just enjoys singing: ‘Love is Holy’, ‘Love in the Natural Way’ and ‘Four Letter Word’ before she took us on a flashback journey to all her early hits and the audience went crazy: Kim and Ricky side by side with her arm wrapped round him sharing that sibling love. Her voice was just tremendous on everything she sang, but these classics were what everyone was waiting to hear. 

Leaving the stage to resounding screams and hand claps, you knew it wouldn’t be long before they were back for their encore. 

Kim returning in silver cape and cap ‘Pop Don’t Stop’ from the ‘Aliens’ album cleverly placing another cap on the mic stand to illuminate it with the words POP, then thanking everyone tonight and going into the appropriate ‘You Came’ blowing kisses and shaking hands with the fans at the front and ending this amazing night with what else? but ‘Kids in America’ with everyone roaring out their Whoa ooaas as loud as they could. 

This was a greatest hits night all right, but Kim tonight showed she is still one of the greatest herself.