Review: Stepback 80's Concert - Motorpoint Arena Nottingham.
Growing up in the 80's, music was a huge part of my life.
It was also a decade where music changed enormously and there were many genres. The early part saw the the back end of 70's disco scene fizzle out as musicians picked up instruments and became serious.
Synth pop mods walked side by side with New Romantics. The back end of the decade saw Stock Aitken and Waterman take over the charts as they transformed soap stars to superstars with their catchy 80's pop anthems.
So, an eighties themed concert could cover huge ground. Did the Stepback 80's concert at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena get it right? To an extent yes but it didn't opitamise my own personal childhood memories. You'll never please everyone though and overall I'd say it was a success.
Opening the show was Katrina (Ex Katrina and the Waves) with her Eurovision entry 'Love shine a Light', followed by the classic Walking on Sunshine. Katrina had the audience singing from the word go, but rather than being seen as part of a whole show, the set had vibes of a support act as people were generally milling about and still taking their seats throughout her performance.
This continued into Chesney Hawkes set. Now here's a guy that doesn't take himself too seriously. Before you could say 'I bet he sings One and Only' he tells us 'I will be singing One and Only'. First he treated us to I'm a man not a boy before giving us the number we'd be waiting for, sounding as fresh as it did all those years ago (and he doesn't look much older either!)
Next up is the unmistakable Carol Decker. I owned and loved T'Pau's Bridge of Spies album but Carol performed just two of it's hits, Heart & Soul and China in your Hand. Both numbers brilliant live, her voice as powerful as ever. It was such a shame we didn't get to hear more.
The same can be said for the next act, Paul Young. Ok, he got to perform three numbers, Stay for Good, Wherever I Lay My Hat and the fantastic Tear your Playhouse Down, but I could have listened to those two performers all night.
The hits continued with Go West, who had the crowd up on their feet, where they stayed for the unmistakable sound of Bonnie Tyler. That unique voice getting more gravelier through the years.
At times you felt she was fighting against the music, but she too can still belt out her hits, which are blooming' hard. Believe me, I know, I tried (stop reading for a sec and try singing Total Eclipse of the Heart - that range though! - You wouldn't like to get into a sing off - or argument between Decker and Tyler)
Still, we're whipping through the artists and you wonder how they are going to make the concert last all night, unless they're going to all do a number together??
We didn't have to wait long to find out. A short break followed, which despite playing some cracking 80's tunes throughout, seemed to lose the momentum a little, and next up on the stage we have ABC. Slick showmen, still sounding great, you can't fault them, but personally I wasn't a great ABC fan, so the fact they got perform eight numbers, albeit hits - I hadn't realised they'd had that many, didn't balance the night in my opinion.
So that meant our final act of the evening, who would be headlining, was Tony Hadley. It appeared a lot of ladies of a certain age were there to see him, many we're told having travelled miles, even continents to be there. Hadley delivered the sounds of Spandau Ballet throughout his nine numbers which included classics Chant No 1 and True, even throwing in a Queen tribute. Our finale is a storming performance of Gold and then it's all over, not even a group hug. Opening act Katrina could have nipped out, kept her dinner warm and be tucked up in bed by the time Hadley finished.
But I'm not complaining, as I said at the start, you'll never please everybody, and though it did seem to be more of a vehicle for Hadley and ABC, overall we had a fabulous fun nostalgic blast from the past enjoying some true professionals of their trade and some of the very best music the era produced.
Love T xx
Disclaimer: My tickets were complimentary but my views were my own
Photos by Michael Mills