Review by Andy Polaris
Alison Moyet has had a long career in a fickle music business which is unrecognisable from her early beginnings when British pop music of the Eighties dominated global airwaves and conquered America in “the second British invasion”. That legion included Culture Club, Duran Duran, ABC, Human League, Depeche Mode, Sade, Tears For Fears and the Eurythmics, amongst an exhaustive list of star-studded talent.
A lot of those artists have continued to record successful albums and perform to devoted crowds of fans who have grown up with their music (Culture Club and Tears For Fears currently on tour). We also have the generations who fell in love searching YouTube for clips of talent from before their time but whose orgy of hits are the diet of popular radio stations with non-stop Eighties playlists.
Alison Moyet has released nine studio solo albums and the two influential albums with Yazoo (which incidentally will be re-issued next month) and has sold over 20 million albums. Returning to the London stage after last year’s sell-out performance at the London Palladium, this month she has been the special guest on an arena tour by fellow Eighties sensation Tears For Fears.
Stripped down to a minimal trio of Alison and two talented individuals on keyboard synthesizer, drums, and backing vocals, her set was not dissimilar to the synthpop duo of Yazoo which kickstarted her successful career. Her rich timbre and yearning delivery blended with the electronic heartbeat which pulsed throughout the night’s repertoire.
Material from her most recent album ‘Other’ was mixed with gems and fan favourites from a selection of singer songwriter and collaborations. Due to the O2 venue’s chaotic security we missed the first song and were greeted with ‘Nobody’s Diary’ followed by the powerful ‘Do You Ever Wonder’. ‘Rarest Bird’ was dedicated to the LGBTQ community who Alison felt had always embraced her and no more so than in her adopted home of Brighton. Its lyric Skip a grace note on your heel/To whichever hymn you please/For the rarest birds are these, drew some audible whoops from the audience.
‘Only You’ was instantly recognisable and the dramatic emotion of ‘Love Resurrection’ chimed because of strong melodies flawlessly delivered by a voice that sounds dipped in velvet.
Of course the crowd were lifted by the uptempo electro-pop masterpieces that ushered in a remarkable knack to hit the dancefloors of NYC and have only grown in stature over the years, climaxing with the almost Moroderish stomp of ‘Don’t Go’ and ‘Situation’ beefed up to disco heaven with giant percussive stabs of electronica. Alison was feeding off the crowd up on its feet energy, beaming and looking like she was having the time of her life – and so frankly were we.
Alison live in Liverpool this week:
Tears For Fears were the headliners for this tour. They turned out an impressive show reliant on some stunning digital graphics, superb musicianship from a tightly rehearsed band and to top it all glorious vocals from Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith. Some reunions disappoint because the voices have faded or become dwarfed from rock n roll excesses but those falsettos and sweetness resonated and filled the arena, so much so that my companion and I were both mute in admiration.
All the hits cascaded out and sounded magnificent, from the opener ‘Everybody Wants to Rule The World’ and closing with the anthemic ‘Shout’. In between, the highlights were splendid performances of the Beatlesque ‘Sowing the Seeds Of Love’, ‘Head Over Heels’, ‘Mad World’ and of ‘Woman In Chains’ almost hymn-like in its beauty. A special mention must go to the featured vocalist Carina Round. Acknowledging this was their biggest UK date, the Tears duo thanked the crowd humbly and looked genuinely chuffed at the deserved reception. This was a triumphant return and should be a blueprint for how to honour your legacy.
Tears For Fears on video
BMG are releasing Yazoo’s Upstairs at Eric’s and You and Me Both as individual heavyweight vinyl discs on 29 March 2019. These 180g black vinyl discs are the 2018 remastered versions of each album which featured in the Four Pieces boxset. These are available to pre-order now.