Mega 90s @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing done well and in Adelaide over the last twelve months we have seen plenty of great eighties and nineties acts reclaim their glory years and put on some fantastic shows. Mega 90s promised to be that boasting a line-up of 2 Unlimited, The Real McCoy, Technotronic and Dr Alban. Collectively this quartet had some of the biggest hits of the nineties so it was building to be a celebration of nineties music.

Perhaps because we have seen these package tours of nostalgia acts done so well in recent times, tonights show suffered by comparison. At eighty five dollars I think there is a reasonable assertion that fans can expect a certain level of performance for their hard earned pennies.  To use the phrase ‘disappointing’ would be leaning towards understatement.

Firstly there was no live band, not always a deal breaker as the recent Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, East 17, etc gig showed (they used a Dj and backing tapes) and that was still a great night. That was mainly down to the performances by all the acts on the bill being enthusiastic and engaging. I’d always prefer the music to be live, but understand for these kind of acts that is often not the way things are done. The production values were light on and looked cheap with no thrills more akin to a karaoke night at the local pub, which might in part be because mostly when these acts tour in Europe they are doing ‘guest spots’ at nightclubs, not playing 2,000 seat venues at full concert prices.

Dr Alban was not exactly great. His performance was fairly subpar and seemed to be phoning it in. His voice wasn’t very good and the performance less than thrilling. It’s My Life wasn’t that flash the first time he sang it tonight and he wrapped up his brief set with doing it again (but it was a re-mix). Maybe just sing Sing Hallelujah and then split?

Don’t get me wrong, I am under no illusion that any of the acts on tonight’s bill are The Beatles. Like many mainstream dance acts from the 90’s they were often put together in a studio by a producer and there is a case to be made that quite a few of these songs could have been performed by any of the acts on the bill and the audience would have been none the wiser.

Technotronic are a good example of that phenomena. They had a fist full of commercial dance hits, which were pretty interchangeable and twenty five years later, people still remember and love those songs. But tonight Ya Kid K looked like she was dressed for bed rather than playing a set of electronic fueled music. The backing tape sounded as flat as the performance with some halfhearted renditions of Pump Up The Jam, This Beat Is Technotronic and Move That Body. I was really struggling with this and we were only two acts in.  Frustration by this point was at an all time high heightened by an unnecessary intermission and the MC James Saxman Spy, singing and ‘sax-ing’ over the DJ’s period appropriate dance music. Mate, don’t sing and loose the saxophone.

At least The Real McCoy looked the part and were genuinely interested about being here in Adelaide despite it sounding all too karaoke. It was a treasure trove of hits including One More Time, Runaway, Love And Devotion, Automatic Lover and Another Night were want for a better word ‘entertaining’, at least more entertaining that the other acts on the bill.

One act left to go and 2 Unlimited sadly also didn’t deliver either and their live sound was also not that flash. Back in the day Get Ready For This, Twilight Zone, No Limit and Tribal Dance sounded good but fell along way short tonight.

In the interests of full disclosure, this is not my favourite music from the era and some people around me seemed to have a terrific night and danced and sang along, perhaps some even thought that this was the greatest thing ever. But it wasn’t. After seeing so many of these nostalgia shows done so well, and especially in Mad March were people are spoilt for choice for shows, gigs, entertainment and things to spend their hard earned cash on. Tonight’s show anything but great. Perhaps greatly disappointing!

Review by Rob Lyon

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: