We came, we saw… and they conquered!
ABC’s show at the City Hall was such a staggering success that I am still reeling from the shock!
Elegant? I should coco! If Bryan Ferry had been in attendance he’d probably have been mistaken for a member of Status Quo. With a 16-piece ensemble on a 5-tiered stage-set, this was vintage Hollywood and no expense had been spared in the seemingly impossible task of recreating the heady arrangements and romantic atmosphere of the lush “Lexicon Of Love”.
From the classical arrangements of the ABC songbook, which opened the show, to the thunderous encores of “Poison Arrow” and “The Look Of Love”, the show was both a visual delight and a musical feast with Martin Fry proving beyond any reasonable doubt that he’s the greatest matinee idol pop star we have yet produced.
Dressed to kill in a sparkling version of the black tux ‘n’ bow-tie that was also sported by the male members of the orchestra, Martin stalked the stage like a panther, sang like the proverbial nightingale and had the excited audience eating out of the palm of his hand. Courteous and gracious almost beyond belief, ‘Big’ Fry was the perfect host and someone for whom this night was a personal triumph.
That’s not to play down the sterling efforts of David Palmer (himself inducing a few bouts of squealing), Mark White or Stephen Singleton. They were all superb but it’s just that Martin has such charisma it’s very difficult to take your eyes off him.
For the record, ABC played the whole of “The Lexicon Of Love”, a very funky “Alphabet Soup” and Martin nearly brought the house down with his solo version of “I Wish I Was In Love”.
Durng the second half of the show, Martin, Mark and Steve traded in their black jackets for outrageous gold lamé numbers and with the stage bathed in pink and blue lighting, classical cool gave way to unashamed razzmatazz and the most exciting versions of “St. Valentine’s Day” and “4 Ever 2 Gether” I could wish to hear. As the set reached a frenzied climax and the mirrored ball sprayed the audience with a confetti of light, I tried very hard to remember the last time I saw such a tremendous show. I couldn’t.
With synthesizers putting orchestras out of business by the cartload and with everyone dressing down in denim, it was heartwarming indeed to know that there is still someone who appreciates the difference between style and fashion. Arise, Sir Martin.