Review: Tony Hadley and Martin Fry in Weston-super-Mare
Ok - I'll admit it, when it comes down to it, I'm a complete 80's kid. Madonna, Wham, leg warmers, and The Goonies - I love it all. So when the opportunity came up to see Tony Hadley and Martin Fry in concert, I was totally there.
I knew it was going to be cheesy, but that's what I love, so it was just fine by me. And with Tony Hadley and Martin Fry, in Weston-super-Mare at 5pm on a Sunday in February, the cheese-factor rating was at its maximum of 10 out of 10, even before the show started.
And I wasn't to be disappointed either. After a couple of false starts with the opening music, Tony and Martin ran on stage and kicked off the night with a rendition of Up, Up and Away by The Fifth Dimension, followed by the Stevie Wonder classic Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours. Not the opener I had expected, but I was giddy all the same.
I do have to tell you about the brass section of the band at this point though. Well, there was a sax, trumpet and trombone, but I'll call them the brass section, for ease.
There they were, doing their little routines, in between playing. At the start, the routines only consisted of a bit of swaying and finger-clicking. Little did I know that their dance steps were only to get more complex, and consequently more hilarious, throughout!
Tony is boss - IDET
It's True, Tony's voice was Gold!
Martin took to the stage first singing Tears Are Not Enough, which had everyone clapping and singing straightaway. I think Martin's shout-out, halfway through the song, of "c'mon put your hands together" upped the cheese-factor rating by about 20 points!
After Poison Arrow, Tony took centre stage. He introduced Spandau Ballet's John Keeble on the drums, and proceeded to belt out the Spandau classic, True.
I was loving it at this point. There was Tony Hadley, live and in the flesh, singing True. Fantastic! He even held the mic out for the audience to sing the "ha, ha, ha, haaa, haaaaa" bits in the chorus - brilliant! This brought up the cheese factor by 50 points - surely, the show just couldn't get much better than this?
Thru the Barricades was up next. It's still a beautiful song - even if you are listening to an 80s comeback star in Weston-super-Mare. I'll even admit that it brought a small tear to my eye at one point - just a small one - which brought the cheese rating of the show down by 40 points.
Martin's rendition of You Get What You Give by The New Radicals was a hit with the audience (yep, the 5pm matinee crowd were getting warmed up nicely), although, to put it bluntly, I personally felt he murdered it.
It just sounded... sort of... naff, to be honest, although the brass section were very entertaining indeed with their crazed dancing. I did actually think they were going to do each other an injury though, such was the extent of their twists, turns and general flailing of arms.
Take a chill pill
After the interval, Tony sang Time in a Bottle by the Canadian singer, Jim Croce. Continuing with the chill out theme, this was actually a very beautiful song which brings the cheese factor down by quite a considerable sum - 50 points.
Shortly after that, Martin was back. He'd changed into a different suit though - a nice, shiny purple number - cheese rating up by 100.
Tony then sang Gold - fabulous! Pure genius, with lashings of 80's cheese, especially when he not only took off his jacket, but proceeded to swing it round his head and throw it across the stage.
If that wasn't enough, he also got hold of a tambourine and started playing it - classic, and an added cheese-factor rating of a massive 500 points. Nice work, Tony!
The finale was Bryan Ferry's Let's Stick Together, followed by You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' by The Righteous Brothers. This was fantastic, if only for the reason that I now have an excuse to quote my favourite line from Top Gun: "You can be my wingman anytime." Excellent!
And so, alas, an absolutely cracking night of 80's cheese was at an end. With his booming voice (which, to be fair, still hits all the high notes and sounds as good as it ever did), cheeky chappy Tony just had the edge over Martin.
And although I was disappointed by Martin's lack of gold suitage, the brass section more than made up for it by their simply outrageous dance moves.
So there you have it, with a whopping (and quite frankly unheard of) cheese-factor rating of 590 out of 10, this was an 80s' kid's night of pure and unadulterated cheese - I loved it!
last updated: 09/02/05