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Sunday, December 19, 2004

Not content with the Human League last Monday, Lisa and I returned to the 80s last night with the 'Here & Now' tour at the Brighton Centre. It was a step up in musical quality after we'd spent the afternoon being subjected to a plastic nativity scene in the living room of a friend's mother, which (she was keen to demonstrate) blared out festive music and meaningful words (in an American accent) at the touch of a button. Lisa wondered if it cost less than a fiver. If so, we've found our wedding present for a certain couple next March.

Half an hour of novelty tat later, and we escaped to the pub for the afternoon with the woman's son, who regaled us with stories of neglected kids at the school where he teaches. Although personally I don't think it's that bad to make your children eat Super Noodles for every meal.

But the main event of the day was the evening's musical extravaganza, which featured live performances from... [fanfare please]...

Limahl... Living in a Box... (don't worry, it gets better)... Bucks Fizz... (soon)... Nik Kershaw (hurrah!)... Belinda Carlisle... Kim Wilde (yawn)... and... Midge Ure!

Limahl kicked it off with three of his biggest hits. He was actually quite good, and I would've called for an encore if it wasn't for the fact that by the end of the third song he'd actually covered his whole career. Coming up with a fourth hit was clearly a bridge too far for the dodgy-haired popster.

The same could be said for Living in a Box, a name which has probably proved spookily accurate for the three band members since the 80s. The singer sounded like he'd been smoking sixty a day for the last twenty years, but he managed to belt out their three hits with gusto. And without feeling the need to play the guitar he had hung around his neck.

Next up were 'The Original Bucks Fizz', back together for the first time since the 80s, and original in every way except the actual line up. But hey, we had Cheryl Baker, and that's good enough for me. It was good to see that their dancing hasn't come on at all in the last two decades, but they were strangely enjoyable in an embarrassingly cheesy way, and Lisa and I even got to our feet for 'Making Your Mind Up'. I wasn't too proud to do the actions either.

The first half was completed by Nik Kershaw, who, I have to say, was the star of the night for me. He was clearly no bigger than a midget, but the guy can play a guitar and belt out a pop song with the best of 'em. It was just a travesty that he only got to play four songs (compared with the Fizz's six), and missed out Don Quixote - the one record of his I actually bought. He deserves a comeback tour of his very own. Though as Lisa said, probably in a pub rather than the Brighton Centre.

After the interval we came back to Belinda Carlisle. Not very exciting, although her backing singer was clearly a trained tambourine player, and the woman can presumeably now cook after being in Hell's Kitchen. Not that she was able to demonstrate that ability in five songs.

She was followed by Kim Wilde in a black leather cat suit. I was never that wild about Kim, and she did go on a bit. Though on the plus side, she appeared to have Morpheus from The Matrix on guitar, who she finally revealed at the end to be her little brother. But even so, I was calling for the return of Nik Kershaw.

Kim out the way, it was left to Midge Ure to wrap up the evening, and he was surprisingly good. I sang along to Vienna (even though I'm barely old enough to remember it, obviously), and tapped my toe to 'Fade to Grey', whilst Lisa attempted to explain to me who 'Visage' were. The entire cast of this musical pantomime of nostalgia then returned to the stage for a moving rendition of 'Feed the World', along with all the crew and their children.

Lisa couldn't spot Nik Kershaw, but I helpfully pointed him out. He'd blended into a row of small children, and was hidden behind an eight year old.