The 80s were the decade of decadence laced with big bands, big hair, big hits and big fun. 80s Mania delivered all of those big things. Well, almost! Just the big hair was missing and thank goodness for that because I wouldn’t see a thing if the person in front of me had the big hair fashion statement of the 80s!
For the first time in Australia, A Flock of Seagulls brought some fun to the stage with their distinctive Seagulls synth sound and all the hits; The More You Live, The More You Love, Space Age Love Song, Wishing and the biggest hit I Ran (So Far Away). The biggest cheer was saved for I Ran (So Far Away) and that’s when some of the crowd had the confidence to get up and dance.
Cutting Crew combined with the ever-happy dance band Wang Chung was a perfectly fitting collaboration. Nick Van Eede lead singer of Cutting Crew started the set by rocking it up with the song One for the Mockingbird. Knowing that the audience probably wouldn’t know the words “Ok everybody I know you don’t know the words so just make them up!” This guy knows how to play to an audience and his energy was electric, pumping up the vibes in the Thebarton Theatre. He proclaimed “My job is to make you smile” and smile we did.
The set was a mix of both bands songs with Van Eede sharing vocals with Wang Chung guitarist Nick Feldman because lead singer Jack Hues had to fly home due to the unfortunate passing of his father. But the mood wasn’t dampened, Van Eede invited the crowd to get up off their seats and from that moment it was on!
With songs like REM’s The One I Love (dedicated to the bushfires happening around Australia), the classic Wang Chung songs Dance Hall Days and Everybody Have Fun Tonight it was the start of an 80s party. Slowing it down with the ballad I’ve Been in Love Before, Van Eede showed his softer side before the last song of the night for the ‘crew’. Feldman showed off his skills with a sultry guitar solo that morphed into (I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight where the crowd went wild with delight.
The Aussie representation for the 80s Mania was the ever-youthful Pseudo Echo. Lead singer Brian Canham may have shed a few hair follicles over time but this guy never ages. He still rocks a guitar like a true rock star and his energy is on overload from start to finish. You can see he loves what he does and the band played all the old Pseudo Echo hits with a fresh modern sound.
Starting with A Beat For You then giving us all the favourites like Don’t Go, Love an Adventure, Listening and the rockiest cover of Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits sending the crowd into a frenzy. Ending with everyone’s favourite Funky Town this version was the most electric version I’ve heard including a mash up of Black Sabbath’s Black Night before Canham asked “One more round?” making it the longest version of Funky Town but a very satisfying one.
Go West’s Peter Cox and Richard Drummie are coming up to their thirty-fifth year together and their songs still sound as fresh as they did in the 80s. Always a crowd pleaser with hits like Don’t Look Down, Faithful, Call Me and their first hit We Close Our Eyes it was a non-stop dance-athon. They threw in a few covers like the song they wish they wrote, Duran Duran’s Hungry Like The Wolf, Sam Sparro’s Black and Gold and Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire before finishing on the crowd favourite King of Wishful Thinking.
80s Mania confirmed that the 80s are the ultimate hit decade with songs that stand the test of time. The crowd loved every minute and were in full 80s mode with some even dressing up with big hair in Madonna-like headbands and ruffle skirts and tops. There’s still an appetite for all things 80s and there’s plenty more bands still touring so lets hope there’s another installment to keep the party going!
Live review by Anastasia Lambis