FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
Dublin RDS Symons Court
So Frankie made the short journey across the Irish Sea from Liverpool to launch their eagerly awaited first European tour and young teens in the 6,000 capacity audience bawled, shrieked and gasped as the unseen band were announced.
A very young ankle was broken but that was somebody else’s problem — relax, welcome, Frankie. The twin neon signs above the stage tantalisingly spelled out Frankie Goes To Hollywood, the curtains twitched and opened and the sound simmered in the blackness. Smoke engulfed the stage silhouetting three of the band against the pulse of the strobe lights. A white torchlight revealed singer Holly Johnson. Frankie say welcome. The giant video screen burst into life: WAR! The exploding music drowned the screams.
Johnson, clad in white suit and knee-length black boots, attempted to soothe the vibrant passions of the under-16s who fought a losing battle with the bouncers at the front of the stage. Paul Rutherford and “the lads”, in black suits and black confederate pants, indulged in the passionate and vociferous acclaim as the show began.
A plethora of image flashed from the screen, the abhorance of war, the solitude of peace, and ecstacy of love. Was there a message in Botticelli’s religious paintings during “The Power Of Love”? There was certainly a message as the outline of a penis throbbed different colours… “Welcome The The Pleasure Dome”. While Johnson mimed, Rutherford danced marvellously, and guitarists Mark O’Toole and Brian Nash oohed and ahed to that unmistakable sound which made “Relax”, “Power Of Love” and “Two Tribes” indelible memories of 1984 for many teenagers.
That FGTH are very eager to promote a stage presentation was overwhelmingly evident as the seven piece band exuded a musical energy and presence quite remarkable for a first night. It’s well known that making number ones have been their forte during the past year, rather than grinding it out on the road, but by the time O’Toole’s pulsating bass chords signalled their most famous song the band had the crowd in a frenzy. Likewise, when “Two Tribes” began, the front members of the band could hardly control their ardour.
Then, five minutes over the hour, FGTH left the stage, returning to a reception Johnson claimed they “didn’t even get in Liverpool”. Perhaps he was moved by it all, for they slid into an over-sentimentalised rendition of Gerry Marsden’s “Ferry Cross The Mersey” before Springsteen’s “Born To Run” and the reprise of “Relax” ended the encores and the show.