Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Maybe no Love, Truth and Honesty in the setlist but much love, truth and honesty on stage from @VivaBananarama themselves @EventimApollo. An emotional, heartfelt, joyous, blissful, upbeat, celebratory, exuberant, fun night...
I remember 35 years ago reading the joke about Bananarama, "They can't sing, they can’t dance... they should go far!" Well, my friends they did got far. Who can argue a career containing 28 hit singles spanning the whole of the eighties and beyond? They may come across as amateurish but their unison singing and rudimentary choreography is their trademark and we love them for it.
Last night's show was staged with great imagination and buckets of panache as the three belles of the ball mucked about for us in front of footage of their younger selves, cut to a dazzling kaleidoscope of colour. Mistakes were made and gleefully pointed out, without shame or (much) recrimination. The gang is finally back together. Thank goodness.
When Siobhan Fahey departed Bananarama in 1988, in search of musical credibility with her Shakespeare's Sister project, the duo of Sarah Dalin and Keren Woodward gamely carried on with some success.
This scenario was cheekily recreated when the girls announced mid-set that they were going to go a ballad. "Bear with us – ballads aren't really our forte,” stated Dalin as the trio sat down to sing the rather laboured friendship anthem, Cheers Then. At the song’s conclusion, Fahey walked off stage. "At least she went off the right way this time," muttered Dalin. "Makes a change!" Jokesters to the end.
Then as a blazingly brilliant moon rose on the back screen, the remaining duo launched into Fahey’s 1992 Shakespeare's Sister hit, Stay. When Fahey returned for the middle eight, the three embraced in a group hug. Cheap theatrics maybe but it bought a tear to this old codger's eye.
The second half of the set was full-on Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) Hi-NRG disco stompers culminating in the peerless Love in the First Degree.
Maybe no Love, Truth and Honest in the setlist last night but much love, truth and honesty from Bananarama on stage last night. An emotional, heartfelt, joyous, blissful, upbeat, celebratory, exuberant, fun night. Thank you girls. You've made an old man very happy.
Best song of the night for me: Aie a Mwana (a re-issue would surely go top five!)
Little known fact about "Aie a Mwana". It was the first Bananarama single. The girls had heard the Black Blood version sung in Swahili in a French disco and decided to cover it - learning to sing the song phonetically. The tropical nature of the single inspired the group's name: banana coming from the vibe of "Aie a Mwana" and -rama added to the end as a nod to an early Roxy Music song called "Pyjamarama".
Last night’s setlist:-
Nathan Jones (The Supremes cover)
Robert De Niro's Waiting
Aie a Mwana (Black Blood cover)
Trick of the Night
Shy Boy/Boy Trouble
Really Sayin' Something (The Velvelettes cover)
Stay (Shakespeare's Sister cover)
I Heard a Rumour
More Than Physical
I Can't Help It
I Want You Back
Venus (Shocking Blue cover)
Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (Steam cover)
It Ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It) (Ella Fitzgerald cover)
Love in the First Degree