Live Review: Totally 80′s – Saturday 16th July 2016 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Australia
A resurgence in nostalgic tours from acts of the eighties and nineties has had a firm hold on the international stage for the last few years, with many of the biggest acts of the respective decades coming out of hiding and performing hits from their heyday to fans who have long but given up on the thought of ever hearing them in a live setting again. With the popularity of these recent tours – music fans are getting to see and hear songs that formed the soundtracks to their teenage years all over again and are able to reconnect with some of their childhood musical idols.
This month, throughout most main cities of Australia, one of the finest line-ups of 80’s chart topping acts has taken to the road under the banner of Totally 80’s. Martika, Berlin, Limahl, Katrina and the Waves, Suzie Q, Paul Lekakis, Real Life, Wa Wa Nee and Men Without Hats – many of who have been out of the spotlight for the best part of 10 years or longer – have joined forces to deliver a show which brings together each of the acts biggest hits of their respective careers, and fans have been absolutely loving it with many of the dates on the schedule selling out.
Last night it was Sydney’s turn to rewind the years and sing and dance along to some of the biggest singles of the eighties as fans packed out the suitable Enmore Theatre for what was one of the most fun nights Renowned For Sound has had at a show over the last few years.
While there were a few on the line-up of last nights show with more hits under their belts than others, each of the acts – with the exception of a missing Suzie Q - delivered a solid set to fans who were eager and excited to provide backing vocals to some of the hits that ventured out into the show. Opening the trip down memory lane with camp awkwardness but in high fun spirits, Men Without Hats cracked a lid on the evening with front-man Ivan Doroschuk performing two of the bands most recognizable singles in the shape of Pop Goes The World and The Safety Dance; the singer throwing encouragement to the crowd to clap along and spell out the letter ‘S’ with their bodies in time with the latter tracks performance.
Australian new wave outfit Real Life, who scored a classic 80’s staple with the synth-driven Send Me An Angel, impressed with a pitch perfect and record quality rendition of the 1983 hit as front-man David Sterry delivered one of the finest – albeit brief – sets during the night. Katrina of Katrina and the Waves gave the opening hour of the show an edgy injection of feminine rock; donning a guitar and belting out a couple of the bands most celebrated hits including a stellar performance of signature hit, Walking On Sunshine; the crowd belting back to the ankle length back leather jacket donning rock chick with energetic vocal approval.
While the night started on a high, slightly lackluster performances from Wa Wa Nee – fronted by lead singer Paul Gray who also acted as Totally 80’s tour band keyboardist – offered the crowd a pair of the bands notables with Stimulation and Sugar Free adding a slightly dull filler to the night. The Australian act was followed by a 3 song performance from former Kajagoogoo front-man Limahl who came prepared with what appeared to be photographs of himself that he handed to front row revelers following his performance of Kajagoogoo hit Too Shy, a cover of Duran Duran’s Save A Prayer and a nostalgic cinematic duet with his Totally 80’s band backing singer on Never Ending Story. Unfortunately Limahl’s contribution also fell a little flat and his offering of photos of himself to cap off the performance – along with a hair style and overall image that hasn’t changed since his 80’s heyday – added an awkward dressing of desperation to the musicians time under the Enmore spotlight.
The show was split in two segments by a 20 minute interval for the packed out Enmore crowd to recoup, grab a drink and have a breather to chat between themselves about the acts who they were gearing up for in the second half. As the lights dimmed and the evenings camp MC welcomed us back to the retro journey through the years, Paul Lekakis got the show back in motion with a grinding, Hi-NRG set with signature hit Boom Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back To My Room) paving the way for Lekakis to show off his impressive muscle-clad body and for his backing dancers to show off some well rehearsed moves for the crowd.
While each of the acts ending with Lekakis performed brief 2-3 song sets, the night belonged to two very worthy acts to round off the night’s nostalgic music journey. First up was Terri Nunn who brought her Berlin classics to Sydney for the first time since the bands peak 80’s years. Opening with electro-pop classic No More Words, Nunn – who sounded as remarkable as she looked – offered the audience pitch-perfect live renditions of further Berlin classics including Masquerade, recent catchy single Animal and Top Gun soundtrack power ballad, Take My Breathe Away – where she climbed onto the shoulders of her trusty publicist as he took her for a walk around the dance-floor of the venue; Nunn singing the iconic number and thanking the band and the crowd for coming down to see the show amid phones that were lit up and held in the air as she addressed the venue.
After what was a fairly difficult set to top, the evening belonged to the one and only Martika. A musical hermit for the most part of the last few decades, the Cuban-American icon was the highly anticipated performer for most of the crowd at last nights show and this was evident as phones were positioned high in the air as she was introduced to the crowd and which remained recording for the duration of her set by many ticket holders who shouted words of admiration to the songbird between songs. With More Than You Know providing her set with a quirky intro, her cover of Carole King’s I Feel The Earth Move got the crowd worked up before the singer lowered the tone of the set with a gorgeous performance of Prince collaborative hit, Love…Thy Will Be Done; ending the performance in front of a backdrop of purple lights and merging the track with the late singers signature hit, Purple Rain. Following a heartfelt dedication to the late icon, the singer unleashed the bouncy Martika’s Kitchen before dishing up an extended and powerful performance of Toy Soldiers before thanking the crowd and make her departure from the welcoming Sydney stage.
Whether you were around when the hits performed at last nights show were on constant radio rotation or not – there was something to appreciate about each acts’ performance during this solid, hit-filled two and a half hour show which was not just nostalgic but one of the most fun gigs that we have attended in recent years. A must experience trip down memory lane!