There’s always a trend to look back at era’s with rose tinted spectacles. We all do it, but even I shudder somewhat when I’m reminded of the 1980s, and although there’s plenty about the decade I’d rather forget, there are moments of magic I am glad to recall when I hear certain songs.
The chances are that if you grew up in the early to mid-80s you were an appreciator of music by The Thompson Twins, Belinda Carlisle or Culture Club (or even all three). So, what a fabulous opportunity on Saturday evening when the hits of the artists who gave us hits such as Doctor Doctor, Heaven Is a Place on Earth and Karma Chameleon took to the stage of Cardiff Motorpoint Arena as part of Culture Club’s latest tour.
Tom Bailey, best remembered for fronting The Thompson Twins in the 80s, kicked off proceedings with his current four-piece band, performing classic hits such as Lay Your Hands On Me, Hold Me Now and a new track, Science Fiction (which appeared to match the bands futuristic white-clad look)
Tom may no longer have his trademark red hair but along with his all-female backing musicians, it was evident The Thompson Twins vibe was still in full swing. Tom took to the stage with his beat-sticks and got the 80s-fest underway with renditions of the upbeat Doctor Doctor and Love on Your Side (of which one band member echoed shades of original Thompson Twin Alannah Currie with wide hand claps).
Following Tom Bailey, fans didn’t have to wait long for American Singer/ songwriter Belinda Carlisle to take to the stage. Beginning with a cover of Cream’s I Feel Free (a rendition Belinda featured on her best-selling album Heaven on Earth), Belinda and her band kept the audience enthralled with a selection of classic feelgood hits
Live Your Life Be Free, Leave a light On, Summer Rain (her favourite song) were all performed with the uplifting energy of the originals as was the chart-topper Heaven Is A Place On Earth. Let’s hope Belinda makes a return visit to Wales soon possibly headlining her own show!
Last, but certainly not least, Boy George and Culture Club took to the stage with their set just before 9pm. A technical hitch however with a fire alarm brought the show briefly to a standstill before restarting again a short while later.
Thankfully, George, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay and Jon Moss along with a fabulous band made of multicultural singers and musicians were not put off and went on to deliver a magnificent set of songs, old, new borrowed and blue.
Classic chart-toppers such as Do You Really Want to Hurt Me and Everything I Own rubbed shoulders with the bands latest hit Let Somebody Love You, their next single Truth is a Runaway Train and Different Man (featuring a stunning vocal from Mary Pearce).
Boy George, the consummate performer frequently encouraged audience participation and spoke to the audience between songs at one point saying, “People keep saying Culture club are trying to evoke the 80s. The truth is I’m a 70s kid who fell into the 80s!”
Later on, George paid tribute to David Bowie of whom he saw perform live as an 11-year-old in Lewisham and helped him realise it was okay to be different before launching into a rendition of Bowie’s 1983 hit Let’s Dance.
Other Culture Club highlights came with beautiful renditions of Time (Clock of the Heart) and Victims (featuring piano by Roy Hay), while the feelgood factor stepped up the audience for Church of The Poison Mind cleverly segued with a performance of Wham’s I’m Your Man. The evening ended appropriately with Culture Club’s 1983 chart-topper Karma Chameleon.
If anything, Boy George and Culture Club along with Belinda Carlisle and Tom Bailey reminded me that even if some of factors of the 1980s are better best forgotten, there is much music that is worth remembering and celebrating. All the music needed was time, and the magic was rekindled as it reached the clock in my heart! Thanks guys!