Sunday, March 23, 2008

Over 2 Decades ... Here & Now 2008, Genting

Long post ahead from a crazy 80s music fan!

21st March is a day I will remember for a long long time (till old age sets in and I start becoming absent minded...oh wait, old age HAS already set in and I am already absent minded! Hahaha...), the day where my 80s craze got its ultimate fix. Here & Now 2008 concert was held in Genting at the Arena Of Stars (on 21st & 22nd March) and I manage to somehow find my way there, when one of my friends won tickets to the show on Friday night. Now, what's this Here & Now 2008 all about? Well, it's a just about the greatest thing that can be for an 80s music fan. I've grown up listening to my fave English singers/bands and having a chance to see Limahl, Johnny Hates Jazz, Paul Young, Howard Jones and Bananarama live in Genting was quite surreal for me.

It didn't matter that it was more than 20 years ago when I was so entranced in the English wave; New Wave, New Romantic, the Stock, Aitken and Waterman (SAW) era and the time when synthesizer music was the rage. I was in love with them back them and still is. I have always preferred English music as compared to American music as I found the former more exciting with their strange, unique or cheesy ways. I'm sure you can tell they were so even from the band names; Flock Of Seagulls, Haircut 100, Visage, Soft Cell, Spandau Ballet, Toyah, Kajagoogoo (of which was the band Limahl was from. They are reuniting!!!), Madness, Stray Cats, Altered Images, Human League, Bucks Fizz, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Heaven 17, Blancmange, ABC, Culture Club, Orchestra Manoeuvres In The Dark, Tears For Fears, Pet Shop Boys, WHAM, Thompson Twins - some of the bands I remember off the top of my head. For other 80s music fans out there which singer or band was/were your fave?

We arrived there near to 8pm but the venue was still quite empty but maybe that was because of the fact that it was raining for the past 2 hours and maybe it just took a little longer for "aged" 80s music fans to make it up to the highland :o). We waited as I scouted for the best way to take photos, standing near the stage at the side. Suddenly, a familiar face walked up to turned out to be Lyrical Lemongrass who was sitting in the VIP area with her Bald Eagle (her hubby - not the once endangered but now reclassified to threatened bird). Goes to show that we made no mistake giving her the award of "Celebrity Blogger Of The Year. She had two VIP tickets left and asked if I wanted to have a sit instead of standing (I was in the standing area). Few minutes later, my friend and I were seated on the first row in the VIP section. Wah! Thanks again, Lyrical Lemongrass (who by the way is also an 80s music fan but she said that I was more hard core fan than she is, hahaha....).

The concert started around 8.30 after people started streaming in, it was a decent turnout despite the rain and it being a Friday. First to start off was Limahl. He looks good for a guy who is 50 (or did I get it wrong?). We sang along and wanted to dance but we had to restrain ourselves as we were on the first row and didn't want to block the people behind us. So, we ended up dancing in our seats. They all sang great though Johnny Hates Jazz lead vocalist Danny Saxon (who replaced Phil Thornalley who replaced Clark Datchler) couldn't hit some of the high notes. Paul Young was the only artist who danced the most and showed us that he was still nimble. He never danced much in the 80s but now he was like this entertainment machine, what a guy! Howard Jones was the best of the best as his vocals was great, he sounded exactly like he did back in the 80s and he has a "recording" voice though he was singing live! Bananarama came out with two toy boys and got the crowd up to their feet for the finale of the night. It ended at about 11 pm (with a 10 minute intermission) and a deejay took over and started spinning hits from the 80s and got us dancing in no time. However, the deejay suddenly had a "bad spell" and soon ran out of steam and the dance crowd started to dwindle. As we made our way out, he put on Limahl's Neverending Story and then another song from Howard Jones. He should have played hits from the night's artiste line up from the start (which he had not at all) to capitalise on the good vibes the crowd got from the earlier part of the concert. Anyway, I loved the concert and I still find myself breaking into one of their songs now and then :o).

I took quite a number of photos that night, here are some from that night and I've added a YouTube video of a song I wished each of them had performed that night but didn't.
Limahl (did you know Limahl is actually from an anagram of his real last name, Chris Hamill?). He sang Too Shy, Ooh To Be Ahh, Hang On Now, Rio ( a Duran Duran song as his tribute to Nick Rhodes for helping Kajagoogoo get signed on under the EMI label), Only For Love, Neverending Story.

I wished Limahl sang "Love In Your Eyes"

Calvin Hayes - Johnny Hates Jazz
Calvin Hayes - Johnny Hates Jazz
Mike Nocito - Johnny Hates Jazz
Mike Nocito - the American part of Johnny Hates Jazz stayed out of the spotlight throughout. Hence, this blue shot of him.
Danny Saxon - Johnny Hates Jazz
Danny Saxon, the lead vocalist of that night sang I Don't Wanna Be A Hero, Turn Back The Clock, Different Seasons, Heart Of Gold, Shattered Dreams

I can't remember whether they sang this but this is what I would like to hear again, "Don't Say It's Love"

Paul Young
Paul Young
Paul Young
Paul Young sang Come Back & Stay, Love Of The Common People, Senza Una Donna, Tear Your Playhouse Down, and Everytime You Go Away. Did he or did he not sing "Where ever I Lay My Hat"?

I wished he sang "Oh Girl"

Howard Jones
Howard Jones, he was the only singer who made an effort to thank us for coming to the concert in Bahasa Malaysia. A commendable effort though he read it off a piece of paper.
Howard Jones
He sang What Is Love, Like To Get To Know Well, No One Is To Blame, New Song, Things Can Only Get Better and Pearl In The Shell.

I wished he had sang "Everlasting Love"

Karen Woodward - Bananarama
Keren Woodward -Bananarama. She's also Mrs Andrew Ridgeley of WHAM fame.
Sara Dallin - Bananarama
Sara Dallin -Bananarama. Such a nice toy boy! Grrr....

They sang Venus, Love In The First Degree, I Heard A Rumour, Nathan Jones, Cruel Summer, Robert De Niro's Waiting and ended with Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye). I wished they sang "Help" The video is funny and has French and Saunders in it; the two madcap British comedians.

Look what I got from the concert! Limahl handed out signed CDs and photos and yours truly ran up to him and got my hand on one of the signed CDs. Yay!
My signed CD from Limahl
Such a blast from the past but that's one of the periods I really Limahl, Johnny Hates Jazz, Paul Young, Howard Jones and Bananarama -Thanks for your part in making those times precious and for a wonderful night. I love music from the 80s and wish there would be more concerts like this here. The folks in UK have it good, Here & Now tours around UK often with different line up. Let's hope for another concert of the 80s in a year or two!

Relax... - Frankie Goes To Hollywood


ilene said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself that night. Were you not blocked at the VIP seats? I find those seats not as good as the first row just above the VIP seats at the back. All the same, you enjoyed yourself. Right?

Got to tell you this....thanks to all those delicious pictures being posted by you, I tak boleh tahan liow, I went to get myself a camera! Bought the Nikon S5I. I wanted the Olympus underwater wan but sweet daughter prevented me from spending money unnecessarily! Saying, I'm still an amateur don't need such high end wan! Can't wait to post photos on my blog - if I know how! hehehehee

beachlover said...

I never been to one live Jazz concert b4 .I know BlueNote in NYC is a very famous Jazz spot,just walk pass by all the time.I guess I'm not a musician person.Glad to hear you ejoy the concert:)

Hazza said...

I did not realise that the Here and Now tour went abroad too! It has been going on the the UK for over 10 years now, with various permutations of acts, including ABC, GO WEST, Human League ( but they are big again now and recently embarked on their own reenactment of the DARE tour), Nick Heyward, etc.. You seem to know a lot about 80s, and I thought you were someone in their 20s! I was and still am an 80s geek and to my friends my knowledge of British pop in that decade is bordering on obsessive! I even had an 80s mullet hairdo till the mid 90s when my irlfriend then (wife now!) said I had to rid of it or we will not get married!

Back to the tour .. I first saw Howard Jones in December 1984 at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. He was at his peak, with the Dreams into Action album in the pipeline and I still remember how brilliant his acoustic version of Hide & Seek was. Much batter than the boring single version. At the same concert, I saw Limahl sitting on the same row as me, with a bodyguard next to him. He was so small he had to sit on the headrest to see the concert!

JHJ was one of my faves in their first incarnation. When Clark Datchler left, I even got his first CD single, Crown of Thorns, but had to go back to Malaysia to get the album as it was not sold in the UK. I also the next single, Turn the Tide with the new singer who sounded just like Datchler, but lost touch after that as they stopped selling in the UK. Fact: I bought the singles Shattered Dreams and How Many Times (Brother Beyond) before both became famous and predicted big things for them! Just took BB another year to get that elusive hit!

I liked Bananara during their stock Aiken Waterman phase most. Were there only two of them? No Siobhan? Jackie?

Paul Young was booded off stage in the UK a couple of years ago. They said he could not sing anymore, but maybe he was just having an off night. Did he not do "Everything Must Change"? One of my faves!

By the way, I have a MASSIVE collection of 80s mp3s. Let me know if you are after any!

Hazza said...

Oh, and another thing! How'd you get thise close up pics so clear? Did you use zoom or were you close up? Last time I took pics frmo a stage, I was far away, used zoom and no flash. the slightest movement rendered the pics blurry.

ekeng said...

i just went to Arena of Star last Saturday for The Million Star Concert..But cannot take picture la..the security always come to kacau..hehehe :)

Precious Pea said...

Lucky you to have bumped into Lyrical Lemongrass. Errr...i have not heard of most of them so OUT! Anyway, is NKOTB from the 80s ar?

a feast, everyday said...

Fantastic shots! I find it really difficult to shoot moving objects, any tips?

Big Boys Oven said...

I saw you dancing to the tune, 20years back! What a funky thing to do now!

Nic (KHKL) said...

wah, you sound so happy..hehe...real 80's education for me lar...i never knew Clark Datchler was from JHJ (i hv his solo single), Bananarama was part of the SAW production nor the difference between Paul Young and Paul Simon...hehe...

aside, precious pea, yeah, guess we're are more of the nkotb era lar, hor? hehe...

wmw said...

Ilene : I had a clear view. The security on duty in front were given chairs to sit down! I did enjoy the show. toy, happy clicking!

Beachlover : This wasn't a jazz concert but Genting will be holding one in April. NYC is full of talented musicians and I love broadway shows!

Hazza : Yay! Another 80s music fan. You had a mullet??? I didn't, though I'm sure I did wear those shoulder pads clothing at a point in time! Hahaha...Yah, Limahl is a small guy but he's still cute. I had Clark Datchler solo debut album in cassette form but sadly it wasn't as good when he was with JHJ.

Yeah, heard Bananarama decided not to find a third replacement and perform as a duo after several failed attempts. Maybe that's why Paul Young danced so much, to make up for his vocal problems...but he was okay.

You have a list made out for your MP3??? Maybe I can scan thru it. Check out the 80s link I have on my sidebar.

ekeng : I have always found Genting to be more lenient. I sat in front and took photos right in front of the security staff. No flash and no auto focus light.

Precious Pea : NKOTB came into the music scene in the late 80s...still considered. But they are American, and American music is not so exciting to me :o)

a feast, everyday : Thanks. Tips? Take lots of shots...and try to time it when they are not moving around so much :o).

BBO : You were there too? It was funky, the 80s music fans definitely enjoyed themselves that night.

nic : Yes, extremely happy. See, you got your education. I expect some lecture fees from you or a meal also can. Hahaha....

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

i have not heard of most of these singers/group but I'm highly offended tt u did not mention Queen!!!!!!!I mean, honestly!Grrrr!!!

I remember having a crazy pillow fight with a couple of French Canadian kids, jumping on our beds (parents out; I was a boarder) to Queen's 'Another One Bites The Dust'. It was 1981 I think.

~Christine~Leng said...

very nice of LL! :)
your captures are great! bought your DSLR already?
and... I will not forget...
ditched me for this concert! lol ;P

Bernsy said...

i looked like you were onstage taking pics,, really good ones ....

Xiu Long Bao said...

wow...dat's very fast of u. I just settled down in my office bck in sg leh but like a zombie.

Anonymous said...

I'd know Paul Young singing "Everytime You Go Away" kwa... the rest maybe not so familiar... Egads, did Precious Pea and Nic (KHKL) indicate that we're from the NKOTB era? Eh, malu-nye...

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I took pics of you singing your lungs out, but not clear wor. :-P The concert was good fun. :-)

Timothy said...

Wow ... nice. Those were the days huh .... these bunch of artist were from the heydays. Good, clean fun.

Judy said...

You are a 80's kid and I am a 70's kid. Glad you enjoyed yourself.

durianberry said...

Wah really nice and sharp photos! I find it hard to do that in low lighting. I enjoy new wave music too like The Cure & Blondie.. hehe. Must be exciting to be so near and listening to the singing of all these famous names

daphne said...

oh my! this is a blast from the past. Sounds like u had a great time.

wmw said...

Hazza : Forgot to reply your second question. I was near the stage, sitting at the first row. But I did use zoom on some of the shots.

Terri : I didn't forget Queen, how could I? I just didn't mention Queen as I was giving examples of weird cheesy band names and Queen didn't fit the bill :o) I love Radio Ga Ga!

Christine : Ooops......Sorry! Hehe...these pics were taken from my other tiny Lumix.

bernsy : Thanks...I wished I WAS on stage with them but sadly I wasn't (nah, I have stage fright...can't go on stage. LOL!)

XLB : Back to work...Do your best ;o)

kenny : 80s was and still is the best decade for music!

Lyrical L : Thank goodness it wasn't clear. Hahaha...I had fun but I bet you had more since you went backstage! ;o)

Timothy : Yes they were but it's still good to have them around today, letting us relive those times.

Judy : Were you a flower child??? Hehehe...

Durianberry : Thanks. Oh, I shot these at ISO 200. Blondie was great, I like Heart Of Glass!

Daphne : I had a fantabulous time (as they would say back in the 80s!).

Tummythoz said...

*Hi5!* Bebopped there on Sat. Haha. All of them wore the same clothes! Paul Young was on fire if not s'thing more potent. V had a fantabulous time too. Yet to post though.

Anonymous said...

Haiya I am still humming those songs! My colleague's gay friend (who is 2 yrs younger than me) went there too! hmmm....I think other than gay guys, most ppl there r older! Sinchew said mostly born in 50s or 60s! I wish we could've stood up and danced!
P/S: I think Paul Young had some throat problem and surgery circa early 90s...

jason said...

Looks like you had good fun!
And yalah, how to get so clear pictures???

wmw said...

tummythoz : Hey, too bad we didn't coincide the dates...else we can boogie together!

Anonymous :Hahaha...What? Are you saying that gay guys love the 80s? Nolah....Yes, Paul Young did have some throat problems.

Jason : I use a higher ISO to take the photos, these were taken with the Panasonic Lumix.

k.t.x said...

dint know of this at all ...lah.. shite must b so fun! when i read yr list of all thos 80 guys, it really hit me...i knew 95% of them la..100%! lol

RunWitMe said...

Wow! What great pictures of the concert!!! What camera are u using?

Me has got a write up and some great pictures from the concert too! Please visit...

wmw said...

k.t.x : Forgot you're another 80s fan! It was lots of fun :o)

runwitme : I used the point and shoot Panasonic Lumic DMC-LZ3. Thanks for the compliments. Okay, will drop by.