WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2
WHEN? 27/4, tour runs until 2/5 (and then regular gigs continue until 25/8/19)
SETLIST: Love Don’t Live Here; I’m On Fire; Love In Stereo; Every Shade Of Blue; Summer Night City; Movin’ On; Dance Music; Feel For You; Tonight; Look On The Floor; On Your Own; Cruel Summer; Love Comes; Move In My Direction; Venus; Looking For Someone; Love In The First Degree; Stuff Like That
You can never have enough Bananarama in your life and, as if to prove it, the band take audience questions for 45 minutes in what would normally be the support slot before headlining for more than 80 minutes.
- Read on for reasons including how the Q&A proves just how Ab Fab funny Keren and Sara are
In Stereo, the now duo’s 11th album and 1st new material for a decade, currently sits in the top 30, their best performing long player since 1987’s hits-packed Wow!.
In 2017 original member Siobhan Fahey rejoined the band for the Original Line Up Tour which won our 2017 Gig Of the Year for its Eventim Apollo show in London.
We remarked then just how funny the banter was and it is a point amplified during both the Q&A and the gig. Remarks Sara midway through the mostly uptempo set: ‘I specifically asked for a chair halfway through to sit on.’ Keren asks: ‘A wheelchair?’
So they’re best friends, have been for a long time and share a self-deprecating sense of humour which may have been an inspiration for Absolutely Fabulous. ‘All they did was roll around drunk and that’s so not us,’ notes Sara drily.
Asked what their 3 wishes would be, Keren says: ‘That the soundcheck had gone better.’
The devoted audience wrote questions on cards before the gig and amidst the good humour there’s even a glint of seriousness and recognition about how much they mean to those here tonight. Says Keren: When we did the meet and greets for the reunion shows we were really quite moved by all the stories about how much we meant to our fans. We understand because it’s the same for us with other people’s songs.’
Their favourite moment during the Original Line Up Tour was sharing it with Siobhan in rehearsals because it was the 1st time she toured with them because she’d left by the time they were packing arenas in the 80s.
The 18-song set shares just 3 with the Original Line-Up Tour and focuses instead on the new album and the many fine singles released after Siobhan left.
They’re playing with a live band and Cruel Summer is given the sort of flamenco makeover that reminds of Madonna and her current enthusiasm for Portuguese-inspired music. Venus is stripped-back and recalls Stuck In The Middle With You so memorable from film Reservoir Dogs. Penultimate song Love In The First Degree is just as joyous and pure pop as you remember.
We’ve held off reviewing In Stereo because we’re still developing an appreciation for it but tonight it makes more sense in this context and the Blondie-esque Looking For Someone is especially strong.
Both Nanas remark on how much they love underrated classic Look On the Floor from 2005’s album Drama and it stands out here as do both recent singles the Daft Punk-esque Dance Music and 70s disco stormer Stuff Like That.
We’re shy(boy)ing away from awarding this 5* because it all felt a little too intimate and hot in a packed venue under a railway arch but we love that they’re trying something different including playing Glastonbury this year.
The immediate future includes more regular festival gigs this summer and after that who knows? The dream? They revealed their shared enthusiasm for Tom Hardy and would love to put on a West End musical featuring their songs adding: ‘We’re probably too old to be in it though.’