FESTIVAL REVIEW: Dundee Glitters in the Sunshine to the sound of the 80s at Slessor Gardens Waterfront

DUNDEE 80s

Slessor Gardens,

‘Waterfront’,

Dundee, Scotland on 24th August 2019

‘Dundee Glitters in the Sunshine to the sound of the 80S’

Review by Hugh Connell // Images by Steve Gunn

The sound of the 80s belted out across the waterfront in Dundee for over 6 hours as the city hosted its second big open-air concert of the year. The promise of sunshine heralded the fans to turn out early and kit themselves out in colourful glittery retro gear (tutu’s, lacy gloves, face paint, and hats, etc.). 80s nostalgia had brought together 5 main acts each with their own blend of classic hits and memorable album tracks.

80s SlessorGardens-Dundee Photo Credit : SteveGunn

CHINA CRISIS

The day kicked off with China Crisis performing as a 4-piece outfit including original members Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon. These days China Crisis perform very much as a synth-band. Following the first 3 tracks including Black Man Ray, Gary spoke to the crowd about how they were on first  ‘Was this decision a miss-print or did they want the best band on first?’. Gary was loving his encounter with the crowd and the chance to play a stage set lasting over 45 minutes, giving Eric Animan on sax and Jack Hymers on keyboards plenty of opportunities to improvise. For the track King in a Catholic Style (Wake Up) Gary asked the crowd to imagine he was Freddie Mercury seeking a Queen-like hand in the air response during the song. Wishful Thinking, the band’s biggest hit followed before the set ended with the song Christian with Gary playing melodica, an instrument he had learned at school.

copyright of shotbyagunn photography China Crisis-Slessor Gardens- Dundee- SteveGunn

GO WEST , appearing as a 6-piece outfit on stage which including originals Peter Cox (vocals) and Richard Drummie (guitar and vocals). This was to be a lively set featuring the band’s classic hits with a number of top covers thrown in. Opening with Don’t Look Down and Faithful we were then treated to a lively rendition of Duran Duran’s Hungry Like a Wolf. following with hits Call Me and We Close Our Eyes sounding as fresh as ever. It was easy to gauge how the crowd would react to the final cover Sex on Fire (Kings of Leon), they went wild! The final hit song King of Wishful Thinking, a song that was featured in the 1990 film Pretty Woman. 

Go West Slessor gardens-Dundee-Steve Gunn copyright of shotbyagunn photography
Fans dressed in 80s clothing for the Concert at Slessor Gardens-Dundee Photo Credit Steve Gunn

MIDGE URE Next up and his band were always going to have the crowd in raptures right from the start. With never-ending energy, vocally and on guitar, the ever-gigging Midge took us through his life journey playing a barrowload of familiar songs from his times with Ultravox, Visage and as a solo artist. Early songs included If I Was, Hymn and Fade to Grey. The final set of songs was never going to disappoint as everyone present knew the songs and words to Vienna, The Voice and Dancing with Tears in My Eyes. A truly professional performance from an icon of pop.

MidgeUre- Slessor Gardens-Dundee-Steve Gunn-copyright of shotbyagunn photography

HUE AND CRY ,The brothers Pat Kane (vocals) and Greg Kane (vocals & keys) known as Hue and Cry have a major following throughout Scotland and for this major gig, they had brought with them 5 additional musicians to provide us with a 1 hour set of quality songs. With a time-slot on the night that included a pleasant sun-set, Pat and Greg’s songs drifted us through the sun to dark. From a number, of recent festivals and theatre appearances Hue and Cry had in their repertoire a number of new songs and a collection of must play 80s favourites. The opening songs took us back to the bands early albums opening with I Refuse from their first album Seduced and Abandoned (1987)

Hue+Cry-Slessor Gardens-Dundee-Steve Gunn copyright of shotbyagunn photography

and My Salt Heart from their 3rd album Stars Crash Down (1991). The beauty of Hue and Cry is that their sound drifts from quiet ballad/message songs to more up-tempo singalong pop. This mix seemed to work well on the night, as, with the backing of horns, sax and percussion the more mellow jazz type tracks drifted over the crowd in waves. We did have incidences’ of ‘raise your phones and shine a light’ and let’s see you all come alive to this one! An excellent cover of ‘Prince’s 1999’. The song Mother Glasgow was sung purely as a duet before we were treated to the must-play hits Looking for Linda and finally Labour of Love.

ABC Slessor Gardens-Dundee-Steve Gunn-copyright of shotbyagunn photography

ABC, In the true tradition of the headline, the festival acts there was a short delay while the stage was cleared for the arrival of ABC. Side cameras were switched on for screen display and the 5000+ crowd waits expectantly for the arrival of lead man Martin Fry. The band ABC hail very much from the 80s, having hit the ground running with their number 1 album The Lexicon of Love. The chosen setlist for the night was to feature the majority of songs from this album which incidentally has been re-released in 2017 with a number of bonus tracks as Lexicon of Love II. On with the show with Martin backed by a squad of musicians providing a big stage sound aided by horns and backing singers. When Smokey Sings opened the set but it was not long before we were taken back to Poison Arrow before drifting into more songs from Lexicon of Love. Viva Love is one of ABC’s later recordings. We were also treated to King Without a Crown and How to be a Millionaire before heading back to more songs from Lexicon of Love. You could not be at and ABC concert without the three final ending tracks Tears are not Enough, All of my Heart and finally The Look of Love.     

Once again, the city of Dundee had hosted a very successful event that the 80s followers attended in large numbers.

 

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