Thebarton Theatre, Thu 21 Jul.
The latest in a long, profitable and shamelessly joy-inducing list of ‘nostalgia circuit’ package tours, this particular gaggle of 80s pop stars hit the Thebby to the rabid delight of devoted fans, many of whom turned up in satin pants, acid-wash jeans and conspicuously big hair (and yes, I considered growing a peroxide mullet for the occasion, but there simply wasn’t enough time). And in some ways such an event is impervious to criticism, as everyone – the audience, the singers, the band, the comely backing dancers – is there to have a good time no matter what, and they certainly do, and the headliners (all in their 50s now) are in fine form. And definitely having the last laugh.
Our host Maynard (who sounded like he had the flu that reportedly laid a few of the performers low during previous dates) whipped up the punters and got us all ready for the first appearance of the night, and then on strolled Ivan Doroschuk, lead singer of Men Without Hats. And you’d think that he’d begin with his hit (now what was it called again?), but instead he ripped into Pop Goes The World and then concluded with Safety Dance (“everybody look at your pants”, sorry, “hands”) to plenty of cheers.
David Sterry from Real Life was next, and he obviously relished the chance to knock off cool versions of their Catch Me I’m Falling and Send Me An Angel, and then Paul Gray from Wa Wa Nee hit the stage (and dressed in a white get-up quite unlike Ivan and David’s gaudy black threads, and yes, it did at first look like a straitjacket). The fans whooped for this Aussie outfit’s faves, and he obliged with Stimulation and Sugar Free and amusingly hammed it up with Steve Williams, original guitarist for WWN and part of the evening’s backing band.
You want more? How about Stacy Q, who came on in a dress that, upon reflection, seemed rather suggestive, and she bounced around with glee while singing We Connect and her signature number, Two Of Hearts, and then it was time for Katrina from Katrina And The Waves (although the Waves were absent), and she belted out an extended take on Do You Want Crying while offering heavy guitar riffs and then went straight into Walking On Sunshine, a preposterously catchy tune that she’ll still be crooning into her own 80s. And why not?
Limahl (no, really) then came on and seemed in good humour and still a bit New-Romantic-ish as he performed Kajagoogoo’s Too Shy, a cover of Duran Duran’s Save A Prayer and his The NeverEnding Story [sic] from the 1984 movie of the same name. And then it was time for an interval, and the crowd was allowed to either rush off to the bar or rest their sore feet.
But not for long, as the second half went off with a bang as Paul Lekakis offered a long, raunchy and ridiculously danceable rendition of his one and only hit Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back To My Room) (and laugh all you want, as that’s one more hit than almost anyone reading this has enjoyed). A brief fiddling-about break was needed to get ready for Berlin (who unusually appeared as an actual band), and they spent more time than the other acts as they went through their best-known songs: No More Words, Dancing In Berlin, Like Flames, a new song (a new song???) called Animal, Sex (I’m A…) and finally Take My Breath Away, as lead vocalist Terri Nunn was piggy-backed through the audience.
And then it was time for Martika, the final offering of the evening, and she proceeded through her classics: More Than You Know, her cover of Carole King’s I Feel The Earth Move, Love… Thy Will Be Done (a tribute to her late collaborator Prince), Martika’s Kitchen and Toy Soldiers, which seemed to go on for hours. But no one seemed to mind.
And what more can be said? A fabulous time was had by one and all. In fact, it looked distinctly like many of the fans hadn’t had that much fun since 1985.