Governor Hindmarsh, Tue 8 Nov.
Packaging ‘80s stars for retro tours is currently big business, and while putting Kim Wilde (who was a major name right from the word go in ‘81/’82) and Howard Jones (one popular album, Human’s Lib, in 1984 and a smash, Dream Into Action, in 1985) together on the same bill might have seemed a somewhat odd combo, it nevertheless worked wonderfully. And the fact that they were already pals surely helped a lot.
Howard (61 this year) took to the stage without an intro or fanfare (and at 8.00pm, so be warned at the next show) and, armed with a keytar (yes, there is such a thing) and the services of a drummer and keyboardist, performed cool, slightly stripped-back and energetic versions of his best-known tunes, and evidently was having a great time as the audience sang along and he pretended to conduct them like a choir. His first selection, Pearl In The Shell, proved a great choice, and a few sound problems were ironed out before a short take on Look Mama and one of his newer tracks, The Human Touch.
After a signature tune, No One Is To Blame, Howard noted that Bill Bailey was performing across the street at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, and mentioned that he’d once met Bill at a Kraftwerk concert in Brixton (of course!), and then he proceeded to knock off Everlasting Love (not that one!), Life In One Day, What Is Love?, New Song and Things Can Only Get Better, which ended on a most unexpected note.
The crowd knew what was coming next and thronged towards the stage to get closer to Kim Wilde (almost 56, but don’t tell anyone), who appeared with a full band (including brother Ricky, who co-wrote her biggest hit, and niece Skyler) and offered a fast and furious Chequered Love and View From A Bridge (which no one seemed to realise was about suicide back in 1982) before addressing the punters and saying how glad she was to be there. And we were too, as she belted out an extended, passionate rendition of Cambodia, Who Do You Think You Are?, her cover of Yvonne Elliman’s Saturday Night Fever track If I Can’t Have You, You Came (from her Close album) and, of course, You Keep Me Hangin’ On, a hit for The Supremes and many others and always a showstopper.
After the usual encore (allowing for a quick costume change), Kim and the band returned for a blistering version of Dead Or Alive’s classic You Spin Me Round (Like A Record), probably as DOA’s frontman Pete Burns was a friend of Kim’s (he died on Sun 23 Oct of this year), and then it was time for a long, loud and fabulous version of Kids In America, followed by a bit of a surprise at the very end (although it might have been betrayed by all the photos and videos that have already appeared all over Facebook, so look away if you need to).
It was impossible not to remember, too, that as we watched Kim and Co rip through Kids, the people of America were preparing to go to the polls, but let’s not think about that right now. Let’s just stay in the ‘80s. We’re so much happier there.
Kim Wilde & Howard Jones perform at Governor Hindmarsh Hotel on Sat 12 Nov. This performance is SOLD OUT!