August 7, 2018 Lost 80’s Live Finds Excitement in Brookville, NY 8-4-18
It just seems the ’80s is the decade no one can forget. In the world of Pop culture, it was a time when video games/personal computers became mainstream, MTV was launched, fashion was extravagant, teen flicks were dominating the box office, and most of all, the music was unforgettable. Everything from Heavy Metal to Hip Hop, the sounds were diverse and unique, but perhaps the most distinctive genre of the time was the Pop music. Simply massive, often driven by synthesizer sounds, the New Wave scene was booming and expansive, making it impossible to miss.
Now nearly forty years since the prime of the New Wave movement, while the hair and fashion styles of the ’80s may be gone, the sounds still reverberate loudly in the hearts of listeners. Fortunately, many of the bands from the era are still very active, thanks to the love and support of fans. Call it nostalgia, we call it appreciation for a great period of music, and that is exactly why ’80s themed concert tours are a hot ticket all over the world. There is Retro Futura Tour, the magnificent 80s in the Sand event down in Punta Cana, and of course, one of the originals, Lost 80’s Live!
Initially launched fifteen years ago, Lost 80’s Live has been everywhere from the Philippines to Los Angeles, California through the years. Now, in 2018, the tour returns for a summer of excitement visiting cities around the USA with varied lineups, all depending on your location. Exciting and fun, on the evening of Saturday, August 4th, the tour rolled into Brookville, New York to host the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. A beautiful theater nestled on the north shore of Long Island on the LIU Post campus, people traveled from all over to catch a definitive lineup of ’80s acts including Nu Shooz, Farrington and Mann the original When in Rome UK, Animotion, Naked Eyes, Wang Chung, and A Flock of Seagulls. That in mind, is everyone ready for an unforgettable ’80s dance party?
First up, just around 8 PM, Nu Shooz were anointed to kick off the night. A husband-and-wife team of John Smith and Valerie Day, Nu Shooz would climb the charts in the mid-80s, and to this day, find their tunes spun on radio stations. Coming from Jazz and Latin music backgrounds, Nu Shooz would master the art of flawless Dance Pop, a sound that is often dubbed Freestyle. Guaranteed to get anyone up and moving, they did just that, opening up with their 1986 hit “Point of No Return” before 1988’s “Should I Say Yes,” and the irresistible “I Can’t Wait.”
Truly enjoying themselves, Smith and Day were all smiles as they danced around the platform delivering the music as everyone remembers. For those interested in more than just reliving the past, Nu Shooz put out a jazzy Pop record in 2016 called Bagtown which is well-worth checking out.
Moving along rather seamlessly, next was local radio station WLIR’s beloved DJ Larry The Duck coming out to introduce When in Rome UK. To avoid any confusion, this edition of When in Rome consists of both original Vocalists Clive Farrington and Andrew Mann. Joined by Rob Juarez of drums, together they brought a jolt of energy into the room, opening up with “Heaven Knows” before a roar of cheers for their big hit “The Promise.”
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of “The Promise,” everyone was on their feet dancing along and reflecting on just how great the tune really is. If this was just not enough When in Rome for you, fear not, Farrington and Mann have all intentions of returning for more shows in the USA come 2019, so look out.
Next up was Los Angeles based Synthpop band Animotion. Releasing their self-titled album in 1984, Animotion would go on to score six singles in the Billboard Hot 100 through the end of the decade. Currently touring with a strong lineup of original members including Vocalists Astrid Plane and Bill Wadhams, they came out hot, ready to light up the stage. Powerful and enthusiastic, for the most extensive set of the night thus far, they rattled out memorable tunes including “Let Him Go,” “I Engineer,” and a cover of “Tainted Love,” before their lustful rendition of “Obsession.”
Quite into the performance, Plane showed a good deal of emotion while Wadhams followed on vocals and guitar. Overall another highlight during the night, Animotion are also still making new music and it would behoove fans to check out their latest effort, 2017’s Raise Your Expectations.
Keeping the energy level high throughout the venue, the time had come for Bath, England’s Naked Eyes. Originally a duo, consisting of Vocalist Pete Byrne and late Keyboardist Rob Fisher, thankfully the music of Naked Eyes lives on through Byrne’s dedication to touring. A band not to overlook, Naked Eyes earned four US top 40 singles during the 1980s, but let us not forget their prominent usage of the Fairlight CMI sampling synthesizer on their debut album, 1983’s Burning Bridges.
Celebrating the 35th anniversary of that very debut, Byrne and his band came out ready to rock as they set the table with “Voices in My Head” and “(What) In the Name of Love” before the body moving qualities of their big hits “Promises, Promises” and “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me.” Having absolutely everyone singing along, Naked Eyes where nothing less than electric in their delivery.
With the night nearing the end, it was time for some fun with none other than Wang Chung. Out of London, England, Wang Chung would find their commercial success with the 1984 album Points on the Curve. A well-received effort, rather than immediately follow-up with more Pop music, Wang Chung would go on to score the brilliant instrumental soundtrack for the 1985 film To Live and Die in L.A. A factor that proved this band was much deeper than just crafting catchy Pop music, they returned to the format a year later, striking a gold album with 1986’s Mosaic. Even still, there is so much more to Wang Chung, but rather than go into a vast history lesson, let’s cut to the chase and get right into the performance.
Led by original Bassist Nick Feldman, the 2018 touring edition of Wang Chung features Cutting Crew’s Gareth Moulton on vocals. An exciting teaming, together with their band, they dived into a high energy set that included “Let’s Go,” “Dance Hall Days,” and touring Drummer Josh Thompson on vocals for a cover of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” providing a brilliant segue into “Everybody Have Fun Tonight.” Bright, fun, and energized, their set had the room shaking at an elevated level. Looking to have your “wang chunged” some more? Well, there is hopes that original Vocalist Jack Hues will return to touring soon, and if that is not enough, the band is preparing to release a full retrospective album in 2019.
As they say, all good things must come to an end, so Lost 80’s Live is not an exception to the rule. Fear not though, because providing a fantastic farewell would be A Flock of Seagulls. Out of Liverpool, England, A Flock of Seagulls are one of the more important New Wave bands of the 1980s. Often remembered for their wild hairstyles, the truth of the matter is A Flock of Seagulls invented some of most brilliant Synthpop of the time. Led by hairdresser turned musician Mike Score on vocals and keyboards, A Flock of Seagulls would be one of those bands that perfectly married synthesizers and guitars into one well packaged hybrid.
Recently celebrating the 35th anniversary of their sophomore album, 1983’s Listen, there has been a bit of a buzz surrounding. For starts, A Flock of Seagulls had a surprise reunion of Mike with Ali Score, Frank Maudsley, and Paul Reynolds for the recently released Ascension album. An album that saw the original members get together to re-record their classic tunes from back in the day with The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as a new song, it is a must listen for fans.
All that in mind, there has been no discussion of any further A Flock of Seagulls reunion recording or touring, but never say never. Regardless if that ever comes to fruition, Score continues to dedicate his energy to touring and bringing the music of A Flock of Seagulls to followers. For the Lost 80’s Live final performance, Score and his live band – consisting of Bassist Pando, Drummer Kevin Rankin, as well Lead Guitarist Gord Depp – cast a spell with shimmer tunes such as “The More You Live, the More You Love,” “Space Age Love Song,” and “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You).” With Score front and center behind the keys, his voice sounded affectionate and the icing on the cake came with their mega hit “I Ran (So Far Away).”
Overall, Lost 80’s Live was a engaging concert experience. The pace was even, the sound was high quality, and there was absolutely no let downs – nothing is worse than going to check out a band to find they are a shadow of their original sound, right? A show that focuses on being a non-stop dance party of fun, Lost 80’s Live is a must see for anyone looking for a night full of smiles. So check your worries at the door and great ready to have a blast.