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 me...it 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
Mike Nocito - the American part of Johnny Hates Jazz stayed out of the spotlight throughout. Hence, this blue shot of him.
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 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, 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.
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"
Keren Woodward -Bananarama. She's also Mrs Andrew Ridgeley of WHAM fame.
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!
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