By Mike Russell
THERE was no sign of the gold lame suit, but plenty of gold-plated hits as Martin Fry brought ABC back to Sheffield for a very special show on Saturday.
This was no run of the mill retread of past glories - fans at the City Hall were treated to a full blown performance of the band's greatest album The Lexicon Of Love in full backed by a full-scale 50-piece orchestra, Manchester Camerata.
Lexicon tracks like The Look Of Love and especially All Of My Heart gained hugely from the lush orchestral backgrounds. And as the second set cranked into gear with Show Me and true 80s classic Poison Arrow, the crowd took to their feet and kicked off a Saturday night party.
Great as it was to hear the likes of Tears Are Not Enough again, other Lexicon tracks like Many Happy Returns and Valentine's Day came into their own too.
And the Look Of Love even made a second appearance as a well deserved encore.
Published Date: 08 December 2009
By Peter Kay
The vogue for performing classic albums in their entirety on stage could not be better suited to Lexicon Of Love.
Here's a sublime slice of popular music that topped the charts on its release in June 1982, cemented the reputation of ABC and produced a clutch of hit singles.
It memorably married pop, funk and an orchestra and introduced to the nation a gold lamé clad singer called Martin Fry.
Saturday night's performance saw the return of Fry (without gold lamé) to the city where he wrote the songs and, on this occasion, a 50 piece orchestra, Manchester Camerata, led by Anne Dudley, who was responsible for the orchestration on the album.
The first half saw the band and orchestra skirt around Lexicon of Love, opening with another piece of pop gold, When Smokey Sings.
The songs flowed sweetly, with Fry in fine voice, but with a sense that all concerned - the audience as well as the musicians - were warming up for the main event.
And there was no holding back once Show Me arrived after the interval as a powerful statement of intent, paving the way for the era defining hits of Poison Arrow, The Look Of Love, Tears Are Not Enough and All of My Heart.
It was always going to be difficult maintain the right balance between orchestra and rock band, and occasionally, the strings seemed to be slightly overwhelmed, but the formula and its content stood up strongly.
Lexicon Of Love may have appeared 27 years ago, but its reputation was only enhanced by a live reprise that captured the spirit of the times.
By the end, the audience was on its feet and more happy to sing along to The Look Of Love for a second time as an encore.