Could there be a more apt title for a show of such complete sensory celebration than the Totally 80’s Tour. Thanks to the artists, Frazer and all at Metropolis Touring, we have assembled tonight for the opportunity to re-live the soundtrack of our 80’s existences in a sensational journey of reminiscent adoration and contemporary musical finery.
Despite my excitement in anticipation for this tour, I freely confess that I was ill prepared for what was about to unfold. Having had the privilege of interviewing each artist prior to the tour, I discovered the common denominator amongst them all was the beautiful and humble nature of each performer. Perhaps it is the passage of time and the passing of the constant spotlight that washes away the burdens of fame or even a label forced façade. Only those who have survived the journey would be qualified to say, but nevertheless, my ill-equipped mindset was the result of becoming acutely aware of what genuinely lovely people these celebrated artists are in contemporary form. As I cast an eye over the audience it becomes acutely apparent that I am not alone in my outlook. Some around are shaking in excitement while others are clearly only present in a supportive role. Partner to an 80’s music nut. Some look just as bewildered as I feel and really hadn’t reflected upon exactly what was about to transpire.
Our magnificent master of ceremonies and iconic Aussie music raconteur in Maynard takes to the stage to lead our journey back into the annals of 80’s classics. And who better to sprinkle nostalgia upon the memories ripe for the picking as memories of Radio Stupid and MADD Club flood back to the fore. Despite his extensive list of achievements and superior musical knowledge covering a period more extensive than just the 80’s, he seems perfect to introduce our first performer, namely Ivan Doroschuk. His energetic delivery set the scene brilliantly but despite his iconic invitation from the Men Without Hats classic The Safety Dance, ‘we can dance if we want to’ was met with bums firmly on seats. Albeit with the audience all dancing as much as is humanly possible sitting down. But at the set finale, Maynard re-emerged and advised all that it wasn’t a safety issue and all were welcome to celebrate in true 80’s style. Even a challenge that all were up already at the same stage the previous night. That was all we needed to let the 80’s-esque awkward arm waving and shoe shuffling commence. Good grief…this is what I was afraid of…but who cares?
As David Sterry’s introduction is accompanied by the brilliant Totally 80’s Band, the genuine thrill of individual nostalgic recollection has been firmly established and is evident amongst the audience. Despite being an avid fan of Catch Me I’m Falling from Real Life in their heyday, I had completely forgotten how tremendous a song this is to hear performed live. What a sensational delivery from David, sounding even better than back in 1983, if a true fan could believe that to be a plausible statement. David’s stage celebration and remarkable delivery evinced that he was enjoying tonight equally as ever before. Send Me An Angel had the crowd in full flight, celebrating at as lofty a height as one might presume to find an angel, should our requests vocal accompaniment for a celestial entity fail to find one sent forth. Utterly thrilling. Thank you, David.
Next along our wistful wanderings is music from Wa Wa Nee as Paul and mark lead the gleeful celebratory shrieking from an adoring section of the crowd. Ahh the memories prompted by Stimulation must have been something very extraordinary as many a wail, shriek, shimmy and sultry sway was met with a suspicious glare from significant others. If we weren’t the subject of such saucy recollection, we can hardly demand explanations now, can we? What a terrific crowd reaction was offered forth in grateful acknowledgement of Wa Wa Nee and the impact of their music on many a life.
Now it’s time for Stacey Q to take us further along memory lane, but her stage celebration and vocal performance is certain to be the catalyst for a whole new collection of fond reflections. Stacey graced us with wonderful renditions, clearly highlighted by Two Of Hearts delivered beautifully. Clad in contemporary wrap adorned in gleeful grinning skulls, Stacey set the stage alight in classic style.
Now it’s time for the multitalented Katrina Leskanich to make some musical waves. (Sorry) Now, the truth is that if you have not seen Katrina perform live, you simply must rectify that as soon as is possible. Katrina remains a truly sensational talent in vocal excellence and musical capability, in addition to being a tremendous author. Walking On Sunshine launched the entire audience into a frenzy of excited festivity, but the remainder of her set was demonstrative of her tremendous performing skill, all met with audible comments like ‘my god, she’s incredible’ emanating from all directions.
But now it’s time for the one, and the only…former front man of Kajagoogoo and 80’s fan favourite Limahl to lead our journey of musical rediscovery, providing such timeless quality that tonight seems a Never-Ending Story. For that remark, I sincerely apologise. Although its arguably on par with Limahls’ repertoire of jokes. Sorry my friend. However, the comical puns did clear the palate between his sensation musical contribution to the evenings magic with an amazing delivery of Too Shy and a tremendous ode to Simon Le Bon and a Duran Duran classic. An absolutely brilliant performance making the prospect of further music from Limahl vastly exciting,
Now what show could claim to be 80’s in any manner without all of the aforementioned performers, along with Mr Paul Lekakis. I mean, as one casts one mind back to the 80’s, Boom Boom pushes most other contenders aside and shoves its way to the fore with all the bravado of anyone who actually approached a prospective partner by utter the line ‘hey babe, I’d like to talk to you….’ I’m sure it must have worked for many but I never had the brass cojones to try that one on. Not without a buff bod like Paul. Nevertheless, here is the one and only to sing it for us. Absolutely amazing. As the screams get louder and more layers of clothing reveal a ripped and sculpted figure before our very eyes, we all wondered why we stopped going to the gym. Paul didn’t…quite obviously. This showman is more entertaining to see perform now than back in the day. I realise that sounds improbable, but this really was something quite special. All the reminiscent qualities reflecting the spirit of the tour, buy more fun than I could possibly have envisaged. Just spectacular.
Whilst writing of spectacular, it’s time for Terri Nunn. I know I’m being watched with eagle eyes. Taking a quick detour from her roving photography duties, my wife pops past to assess my demeanour. Its seems I’ve been watching Terri’s Animal video way too much to be merely professional research. I would have to confess some semblance of guilty pleasure. And here she is in the flesh performing that very track to my contented elation. How the hell does she look and sound as sensational as ever before? That’s it…I’m turning vegan. As Dancing In Berlin brought the house to its knees and sent the crowd into unprecedented levels of raw festivity, I realised that I was far from alone in enjoying Terri’s remarkable achievements. An homage to her son serving in the US Army, along with a backdrop of personnel servicing their nation, was very moving, to say the least. To see Terri stay true with modern tradition in a breathtaking performance of Take My Breath Away, and be carried aloft the shoulders of tour manager John Smallman, is one for the ages. Very well done John. You are the proud member of a very small and distinguished group. I’m quite certain that particular honour must be the subject of much robust discussion among tour personnel the world over. Fighting over who gets the privilege of carrying Terri through a crowd. What an enormously distinct privilege it is to hear Terri singing that song live. Wow. With No More Words and Sex, (I’m a) to complete this remarkable collection of classics, one wonders how an opportunity to see Terri performing live might come about again. Time to travel I guess. Any distance would be well worth the journey with such a rewarding experience. It was a little saddening to hear a lump in Terri’s throat develop as she announced it was the final show of the tour for her and Berlin. I must admit I felt some pride to think that we had such an important impact on her here in Australia, that to leave is sad for her. Thank you for the opportunity to see you.
And now to our final performer for the evening. Many people have travelled far and wide for the opportunity to see her in perform. And is that really any wonder when considering her contribution to the music accompanying our lives. From her work with husband Michael Daemon as Oppera, to Kids Incorporated or Martika’s Kitchen, she is such a widely celebrated personality and a supremely talented performer. This is the moment of distinctiveness for many attending the Totally 80’s Tour. Such a wonderful and genuine person and vastly significant contributor the music of the 80’s, this is to be a magnificent pinnacle to an evening of sensational music. Here she is and larger than life. The splendiferous Martika. We indeed felt the earth move to her shattering vocal performance and the purple rain of light from above to accompany her tribute to Prince in Love…Thy Will Be Done was very moving indeed. A song for which Martika wrote the lyrics, originally as a prayer and Prince put music to. A fitting and emotional tribute after his sad passing. The stage front crowd all standing in reverent reflection was something very special. But all in context as Martika celebrated with the crowd just as triumphantly and splendidly as anyone could have possibly dreamed. Her hits performed to utter perfection in a glorious celebration of her amazing talent. What a fitting finale.
A finale to a show tremendously enhanced by the beautiful, talented and often scantily clad backing dancers Ashlea McKee and Alison Grant. What fantastic contributions from you both, very nearly stealing the show on more than one occasion. And in addition to the brilliant backing performers, special mention must be made of the unbelievable vocal talent of Robyn Loau. You are utterly breathtaking in your performance and if there ever was a vocal range that can bring tears to the eye, it has to be you Robyn. Absolutely mesmerising and sensational.
The sad news, of course, is that this is the end of the tour for Ivan and Berlin. We witness a curtain call for all the performers who are the Totally 80’s Tour. The Tour has a few more shows left without Ivan and Terri and I cannot write enough to encourage people to go and experience the unforgettable.
The truth is that I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know it was always going to be exciting and meeting the performers will be a highlight for me, forever. But I could not have possibly fathomed what an incredible awakening this show would be. I play their recorded music and feel occasionally nostalgic, reminiscing about events and memories their music may prompt. But this tour provided another dimension to the enjoyment of these 80’s sensations that I did not anticipate. In reflection, the experience was quite surreal. Not just another gig, or live performance, or even a chance to meet famous folk. This was a rare and special opportunity to visit with very dear long-time friends that I had never met. A chance to reflect back on who I was and who they were to me. Who I am now and who we are to each other. To hear these marvellous people still in full flight and as tremendous as ever. An opportunity to pass in life and say hello. Just for a few hours. All too briefly, but a chance nonetheless. To revisit who we were, to see who we are and to enjoy the excitement of who we will be in hope of celebrating together again. Thank you dear old friends.