Review contributed by Cassandra Hale
The kite surfers were out in force on St Kilda Beach as I drove to the iconic Palais Theatre for a night of eighties inspired music. Being a child of the eighties I hold this time very close to my heart with a lot of happy memories. While there was not a huge amount of eighties inspired clothing the age bracket was very similar to myself with only a few exceptions. I find it hilarious that I can remember every line of any song from the eighties but sometimes I can’t remember what I walked into the next room for!
First up it was Howard Jones starting right on time which is always pleasing. The hits were flowing, No One is to Blame, Like to Get to Know You Well and Life in One Day. I enjoyed Howard’s insight into the lyrics of Life in One Day, it’s always interesting to understand how the mind of a songwriter works. Howard had his trusty Keytar on hand which he popped on and off what can only be described as an ironing board type stand when not in use. I did wonder how he would pull off his set with not a guitarist to be seen, but between his drummer and backup keyboard player they did a great job. I had to keep reminding myself that they were eighties tunes which were saturated with synthesizers, although Howard’s new tracks are heavily electronic, they still work well in 2016. Then it was on to What is Love?, a crowd favorite and you could quickly watch the phones being held up for a quick video. When I say quick, I really mean quick the ‘Fun Police’ were out in force tapping you on the shoulder should you try to grab a snippet of film to watch back later on. While I understand you go to the show not to film, it is always nice to grab a little moment of your favorite song to look back on.
Things Can Only Get Better was a fantastic finisher, it was at this time when everyone was dancing their hearts out that I noticed the lady in front of me was wearing a tulle skirt matched with a denim jacket, the memories flooded back of Blue Light Discos, V05 hairspray, double denim, and no responsibilities. Just when you think Howard had finished he strikes a button on his Apple Mac and you could be mistaken for thinking you were at a Rave Party, the fast paced dance version of Things Can Only Get Better was pumping out much to the crowds delight. A much different alternative from the original version. A huge applause followed and it was time for a short interval.
Then it was time for woman we had all been waiting for, Kim Wilde! Opening with her huge 1981 hit Chequered Love, one of my highlights of the night, the memories of watching the film clip on Countdown and wanting to be Kim looking super cool in the steamed up bathroom made me feel 10 again. Then it was on to View From a Bridge and Water on Glass a killer opening trifecta. Time for a quick chat with her audience then out rang the familiar opening of Cambodia another crowd favourite.
All the hits were there, If I Can’t Have You, You Came and You Keep me Hanging on just to name a few. These mixed nicely with the classic cover of Forever Young and many more Kim Wilde classics.
The fans screamed for more and Kim delivered with a fantastic tribute to the late Pete Burns with You Spin Me Round (Like a Record), her outfit completed with a top hat and red feather boa! This was extremely well received by the audience consisting of a majority of 80’s fans. Then the song we had all been waiting for Kids in America, and it was well worth the wait, Kim belted it out much to the delight of her captivated audience, everyone dancing and singing at the top of their voices. The audience participation was just right with everyone enjoying a sing-a-long over the course of the show. The band were terrific together with the extremely confident backup singer Scarlett whose hair matched her name to a T!.
The fans were on a high and hoping for one more song, although with all the classics covered what could possibly be left? Kim then took the stage with Howard Jones her brother Ricky Wilde and backup singer Scarlett to perform their rendition of God Only Knows originally performed by The Beach Boys. It was a lovely end to the night, although personally I think it would have fitted better at the beginning of the encore and finishing with Kids in America, which really left everyone buzzing. Kim credited a lot of her music and songwriting to her brother Ricky, who played guitar and sang backing vocals in the show, the amazing pipes definitely run in the family.
As the crowd left the Palais Theatre and the first drops of rain started to fall, I can guarantee that everyone took a little slice of the eighties home with them, a step back in time to remember, and maybe, just maybe a picture or two.