ABC + Kid Creole and the Coconuts @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – 6 November 2017

Posted by Zyllah Moranne-Brown on Monday Nov 6, 2017 Under 80s

Review by Zyllah Moranne-Brown and photography by Ken Harrison.

So in the last twelve months this 80s act has had an incredible 12 months. An ‘update’ to their phenomenally huge original 80s album and critically acclaimed too –  ‘The Lexicon of Love II’ and sell out shows across the country;  ABC are here at the Symphony Hall to perform their greatest hits, and are joined tonight by the funky party band – Kid Creole and The Coconuts.

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So support for tonight August Darnell, aka Kid Creole and The Coconuts (trio of female backing vocalists/dancers)  have been entertaining music lovers for over 35 years. “Dayyyyyyyyyy-O! Dayyyyyyyyyyyy-O! Daylight come and we wanna go home…” Beetlejuice! comes into my mind as ‘The Banana Boat Song (Day O)’ greets the audience as the crazy band take to the stage, for a full and raucous set.  The Kid is be-hatted and in a bright purple satin suit, giving the moves in true cahrasmatic manner. Somehow reminiscent on Jim Carrey in The Mask (without the green mask obviously).

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Creole says of this tour… “When I listen to the music of ABC, I am reminded of good times and delicious poison arrows. It is an honor to share the stage with Martin Fry. Music lovers, get ready for a funky good time! Hachachacha!”

Set gives us their hits, as The Coconuts trio strut their stuff – ‘Caroline Was A Drop Out’, ‘Stool Pigeon’ and to “…. all the illegitimate children in the house….” – ‘Annie I’m Not Your Daddy’ – completed with a standing ovation from the crowd who are well enjoying the party.

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So a quick break after the party, and we take our seats for ABC.  Tonight’s gig at the Symphony Hall is pretty much sold out, and tonight’s ABC line-up brings us a full band plus string quartet and massive screen showcasing all those ABC videos from days gone by. ABC 2017, in reality, is Martin Fry -the only original member of the band. Fry says of the tour: “Here’s an opportunity to open up the ABC songbook and journey through all the hits. Lexicon to Lexicon. ABC to XYZ. See you there.”

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It was 1982 when the Trevor Horne produced ‘Lexicon of Love’  was MASSIVE. It was huge. And tonight’s set includes tracks from the old and new “Lexicon” and everything in between. ‘Viva Love’ starts the hour and a half set off, Fry and his band are smooth and slick. ‘The Night You Murdered Love’, when MTV started the trend for music videos and for the 1980s New Romantic bands invariably they were over the top, slightly camp and gloriously overblown escapism – and FRy has took the opportunity to go through the video vault to link in the old and the new, as live footage is overplayed over the old.

Fry is polite, thank ful of the audience coming here en masse; a semi-autobiographical song  up next ‘Singer Not The Song.’ “We made Lexicon of Love II to confuse the British public…” he tells us, and the next ones from it ‘Ten Below Zero.’

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The punters want the hits and here they come. People finally are on their feet: ‘Tears Are Not Enough’, ‘4Ever 2Gether. ‘ He;s been to Brum before. Many many years ago. ABC played a gig at the Heaven and Hell Club.  To nine people. Five of whom happened to be Duran Duran…..

‘All of My Heart’ a track where I ask why do I know all the words to this? It’s because these tracks were massive in the day.’When Smokey Sings’ completes the main set, before the encore – ‘Poison Arrow’ – complete to rapturous applause.
And the final song of the night and the video where Fry is wearing that gleaning gold suit ‘The Look of Love.’

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Tonight’s gig takes you back to that moment in time in the early 80s. New Romantica was about escapism, lavish over the top life styles, invariably good linking guys, winking, saying.. “come and join us”. This musical escapism made the New Romantics a raft of cash – some have moved on and developed careers, some still out there now playing to ten people. Martin Fry is doing the same formula as thirty odd years ago, but hey the fans tonight lap up the nostalgia and indeed the full on party with the crazy Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Hachachacha!

For more images from tonight’s gig visit our Flickr page.


Setlist:
Viva Love
Flames of Desire
The Night You Murdered Love
(How to be a) Millionaire
Singer Not The Song
Ten Below Zero
Be Near Me
Life and Times of a Troubadour
Vanity Kills
King Without A Crown
Look Good Tonight
Show Me
Tears Are Not Enough
4Ever 2Gether
All of My Heart
When Smokey Sings

Encore:
Poison Arrow
The Look of Love

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