Monday, February 26, 2018

Bananarama Brings a Bunch of Joy to NYC


Hard to put into words how much fun I had seeing Bananarama at the PlayStation Theatre on Saturday night. As longtime fans know, Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward and Siobhan Fahey -- the three original members of the post-punk girl group -- had never toured together. But last year, Dallin and Woodward decided to reach out to Fahey -- who had departed the group in 1988, quickly finding success as Shakespears Sister -- to see if she would be interested in reuniting for a U.K. tour. After selling out throughout their homeland, the woman brought their enduringly youthful brand of pop songs and self-deprecating humor to North America this month, with so few dates that my best childhood friend from Arizona, Greg, flew in from his current home in Des Moines to catch the final stop, which happened to be in New York City.


Judging a concert is highly subjective. But putting together the nostalgia factor -- my late brother Bill brought Fun Boy Three's debut album and the "Shy Boy" 12-inch single home from college in 1982, turning me into the gals' biggest U.S. fan -- that my dear friend was with me -- each new import single was like a new romance for these New Wave closet cases, and finding a seven-inch Japanese import of "He's Got Tact" was like our prom! -- and that the women looked and sounded beyond my wildest expectations, the concert was undeniably one of my favorites of all time. 


A well-considered set list also helped, which included U.K. singles like "Robert De Niro's Waiting" (my personal favorite), "Rough Justice" (if "King of the Jungle" had followed I might have died!), "Trick of the Night" (with delightfully seedy footage of motels projected behind them) and "Cheers Then" (which took on a special meaning during this reunion). The night hit legendary status when when they segued from "Shy Boy" into "Boy Trouble," first known as "Don't Call Us," which Bill declared better than the A-side when he brought home the single. (The women got wistful when they recounted the olden days of "b-sides," something that don't really exist anymore.) From there, the Stock-Aitken-Waterman years -- despite all of their drama -- held up beautifully, with "More Than Physical," "I Can't Help It" (a surprise crowd pleaser), "I Want You Back" (another one of my faves) and, of course, "Venus" leaving the crowd begging for more. ("Some Girls," for instance!) \


That they chose to acknowledge each others' post-trio work -- with Sara and Keren filling in for Marcella Detroit on "Stay" (before Shuv swooped in for her goth-girl close-up), and Siobhan playing the part of Jacquie O'Sullivan on "Preacher Man," which the former Mrs. Dave Stewart declared her post-Rama favorite -- only highlighted the enduring friendship and mutual respect they feel for one another. And the one-two punch of "It Ain't What You Do" (the splendid Fun Boy Three single that brought the gals to prominence in 1982) and "Love in the First Degree" (their classic single that didn't even make the U.S. Top 40) for an encore reminded me (and the rest of the crowd) that Bananarama is one of pop music's most underrated artists. 


There's nothing better than an old friend 


Greg, me and Damian

With the palpable joy these women bring to the world, here's hoping this triumph leads to more dates later in the year.


Greg, Dave and Greg

Fans shouldn't have to travel to Manhattan to see them, although I'm awfully glad one in particular did.



Filming the video for "Cruel Summer" was their first time in New York ...



Girls about town ...



We want you back!


It ain't what they did, it's the way that they did it ...


7 comments:

B said...

The show was SUCH a blast! Their banter was so fun and natural. "This next song is the cheesiest song Stock Aiken Waterman ever wrote..." Glad you enjoyed!

Wild One said...

I was at the Toronto show and it was way beyond my expectations. Such an unabashed delight!

Mark said...

"...and finding a seven-inch Japanese import of "He's Got Tact" was like our prom!" LOL Yes! I remember the moment I found my copy at "Off the Record" in Royal Oak! "...and that the women looked and sounded beyond my wildest expectations, the concert was undeniably one of my favorites of all time." Yes. Yes. YES!! Unbelievable show.

nojarama said...

Glad you got to see it in person. I was in complete bliss at the LA show myself.

Ray Berkeley Northside said...

It was such a delicious show! We saw them here in San Francisco at The Warfield and it really was the greatest hits tour. Next we have OMD in March, Human League in May and The Go-Go's in June. 80's are back!

Courteous New Yorker said...

I was there with my husband on Saturday. (Actually saw you as we were all leaving.)
It was an amazing night. I loved seeing Sara and Keren at the Hard Rock about four years ago, as they played some post-Siobhan stuff, but seeing this was worth the 35 year wait. "Trick of the Night" was a highlight as it's one of my faves from the ladies.
A fun night was had by almost all... there were a couple of young'uns near me who were there from the sake of being there.

Blobby said...

jealous.

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