Oct 11, 2010
Grooving with 1980s stars
1980s teen queen Debbie Gibson got the audience singing and dancing to her hits. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Fort Canning Park
Never Gonna Give You Up.
That was the reassuring message when more than 6,500 fans of all ages turned up at Fort Canning to remind Johnny Hates Jazz, Debbie Gibson and Rick Astley that they were not faded and long-forgotten 1980s acts.
Not when the crowd were up on their feet grooving all night long at the retro-fest which had kicked off before 9pm with Johnny Hates Jazz.
Two local acts - breakdance and beatbox - had earlier provided the distractions as the venue began to fill up.
But even if you arrived late, there was little to worry about as the excellent sound system and snazzy-coloured spotlights made sure that what Johnny Hates Jazz did on stage could be seen and heard even from afar.
The threesome Johnny Hates Jazz opened with I Don't Want To Be A Hero, a 1987 dance track with anti-war sentiments.
They rolled out the must-hears such as Turn Back The Clock from their hit 1988 album of the same name, Different Seasons, as well as new songs such as You Belong To You, which all sounded richer compared to the synthesised sounds of before.
It could also be due to the fact that frontman Clark Datchler's voice and musical style have matured over the decades, giving him a deeper tone.
One could see Datchler enjoying himself as he gyrated his hips to the songs and teased the audience by feigning ignorance of Shattered Dreams: 'What's that song again? I've heard of it and I really don't know.'
After a half-hour break, 1980s teen queen Gibson came on and shook things up again as she shimmied to Shake Your Love in a mini shiny skirt.
Extremely comfortable with the audience, she kicked off her heels after Foolish Beat (1988), let her hair down and was amusingly self-deprecating about turning 40 next month and wearing shoulder pads 'that would have caused an international backlash'.
She also got everyone dancing to her bubblegum pop hit, Electric Youth. And when the audience sang the first few lines of Lost In Your Eyes, she said: 'I'm gonna redo this song. I wanna hear you guys sing it because you sound so good.'
But the highlight of the night was arguably English singer Rick Astley. He was in his 1980s party element as he flirted with the audience, asking whether it was 'the natural temperature here or the sexual tension' that he was feeling.
He even removed his jacket in response to calls by screaming fans.
Belting out hits such as Together Forever, When I Fall In Love and his recent single Lights Out, his rich and deep voice was never in danger of being crowded out by the music of his band.
And when he unleashed the infectious monster hit, Never Gonna Give You Up, he sounded exactly as he did in his 1987 music video - youthful and energetic.
He even stuck to the same dance moves while the audience went about their own Mambo moves honed from nights partying at Zouk.
Retrolicious? You bet.