Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Eighties pop fans in seventh heaven

EVERGREEN pop stars and their fans turned back the clock at the Rewind South festival in

EVERGREEN pop stars and their fans turned back the clock at the Rewind South festival in Henley at the weekend.

A total of 40,000 people attended the seventh annual Eighties pop extravaganza on Temple Island Meadows on Saturday and Sunday.

More than 20 evergreen acts performed, including headliners Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and The Human League as well as Bananarama, Kim Wilde, Billy Ocean, The Selecter, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Altered Images, Nik Kershaw, Hot Chocolate, and T’Pau featuring Henley singer Carol Decker.

The crowds soaked up the sunshine on Saturday on one of the hottest days of the year as temperatures reached the high twenties.

On Sunday there were heavy showers in the afternoon but the skies cleared and it remained dry into the evening.

There was the usual party atmosphere with many fans in fancy dress from the decade known for outrageous hairdos and fashion. There were Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and even people dressed as Subbuteo players.

On Saturday American singer Belinda Carlisle got the crowd clapping when she sang her hit Heaven Is A Place on Earth.

Ocean delighted revellers with a 30-minute set that included his hit When the Going Gets Tough and a cover of Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry. Wilde, who was dressed in black jeans and leather jacket, performed You Keep Me Hangin’ On and Kids in America with her niece Scarlett Wilde.

On Sunday, Kershaw told the audience “you’ll never catch me doing a cover” and then performed The One And Only by Chesney Hawkes, which he wrote, and everyone sang along. Sara Dallin, from Bananarama, had to ask a stage hand to open her bottle of water because she has “weak wrists” but bandmate Keren Woodward then accidentally kicked it over so another stage hand had to mop up.

The Human League performed one of their songs against a backdrop of politicians’ faces morphing into each other, including David Cameron, Barack Obama and President Kennedy as well as Home Secretary Theresa May, whose Maidenhead constituency contains the meadows.

After her show Decker said it had been “really good” despite some initial problems with her monitor speakers, which meant she could not hear herself on stage. The 57-year-old, who sang at the first four Rewind festivals in Henley, said: “I can only hope I was in tune because I couldn’t hear anything but it was good fun.

“I love Rewind — what’s not to like? It’s a massive crowd with a huge stage and I get to catch up with all my mates.

“It’s a real moment of shock and awe to step out in front of 20,000 people and I love it.

“The audience was very colourful — I could see a lot of day-glow, pink hair and white Pat Sharp wigs.”

After opening the festival on the Saturday, Hot Chocolate founder member Patrick Olive said it had been very hot on stage.

The 68-year-old bassist said: “I feel sorry for the other acts because as the day goes on it’s going to get hotter. I think I’m ‘melting chocolate’ at the moment!

“It might be warm but you’ve got to move about for the crowd. They’re giving it large out there and they want you to dance about.

“I still love it after all these years, though. I’ll be 18 until I die.”

Slim Jim Phantom, former drummer with the Stray Cats, was playing at the festival for the first time.

He flew to England specially for the event and played a series of warm-up gigs in London in the week beforehand. He returned to the capital afterwards to spend some time with his friend Glen Matlock, the Sex Pistols’ bass player. Phantom said: “I think it’s great — I know songs by every one of the people playing today and I’ve met them all at some point.

“I feel flattered to be invited because you don’t get to play here unless you’ve written several classic songs. I love how it’s packed from the very start. Sometimes festival crowds only filter in slowly but it was full for the first act, which is incredible.”

Joe Lynn Turner, formerly of heavy rock band Rainbow, was playing at Rewind in Henley for the first time. The American singer, who sang Since You’ve Been Gone, said: “I hope I’ll come back plenty more times in future. This area is absolutely stunning — the countryside is beautiful and the whole crowd seems to be having the time of their lives.”

Ocean, who appeared at the first ever Rewind festival in 2009, was back for a fourth time after returning in 2011 and 2013.

He said: “It was as great as usual. I’m going out there and making people happy and they’re making me happy in return so it’s fantastic.

“I was one of the artists who helped to start the whole Rewind process so it’s great to see it has become this successful. There are so many people out there and it’s wonderful to see. You can never foresee how well these things will do. You hope it will succeed but I never thought it would develop into something so big. I look forward to doing it every time.”

Go West, who also appeared at the inaugural Rewind, were back in Henley for the fifth time.

Singer Peter Cox said: “It’s always a pleasure and a privilege to play in such a beautiful setting. I’m a perfectionist so I never like to say our performances were ‘great’ but I really hope the audience enjoyed it.

“We work all year round but this is the biggest venue we play and it’s a no-brainer when we’re invited to come back.”

Altered Images’ singer Clare Grogan said she enjoyed the show as the band now plays fewer than a dozen gigs a year. “It’s genuinely overwhelming because this isn’t something I do every day,” she said. “To have the opportunity to go out there and stand in front of that sea of smiling faces is just awesome. I was almost having a nervous breakdown backstage, wondering ‘can I do this?’ but the crowds just pull you along.”

Paul Humphreys, keyboardist for Saturday headliners Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, admitted to being nervous.

He said: “I think nerves are good, though — it stops you being complacent. The adrenaline kicks in and you give it your all.

“We did Henley four years ago and think it’s fantastic. It’s chock-a-block with people and it’s a great celebration of some brilliant artists and iconic songs. Pop tunes are like little time capsules and people love being able to hear the original musicians performing them. They go hand-in-hand with memories from different times in people’s lives.

“We’re really proud of our hits. I know of bands who refuse to play their biggest hits but that’s ridiculous — they’re the songs they built their careers on and they should give people what they want.”

Pauline Black, singer for The Selecter, said the band had performed at other Rewind events but had enjoyed this show the most.

She said: “I’d always wanted to play here. It’s a great privilege for us that people still enjoy our music after all these years. We always challenge our crowd and they were incredibly responsive today.”

Rewind promoter David Heartfield, from Rotherfield Greys, said: “I think it was well received and everybody enjoyed it.

His personal highlight was Joy Division’s Peter Hook performing Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Fan Janey Maple, of Gravel Hill, Henley, said: “I come every year. I never who’s playing but the atmosphere is very friendly.”

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