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Gig review: ABC



Symphony Hall, Birmingham ★★★★✩

AFTER ABC first appeared on Top Of The Pops in 1982, Martin Fry’s gold lamé suit was emulated by wannabe suave fellas everywhere as they counteracted the grey 1980s with their funky, future-cool debut LP, The Lexicon Of Love.

Fry is now more modest than maverick, as his floral gold tuxedo jacket suggests and heads up ABC backed by session musicians and Anne Dudley’s Southbank Sinfonia. The Symphony Hall proved the perfect setting for the soaring, orchestral renditions of classic pop hits on the Lexicon Of Love tour, where they play the album in full each night.

The first half of the show saw a ‘best of the rest’ set that ebbed and flowed through the likes of When Smokey Sings, Viva Love and The Night You Murdered Love. Fry, on good form throughout, recalled early visits to Birmingham where only seven people watched them play — four of them were Duran Duran.

It was the album that fans were here for — as the ovation to opening track Show Me only proved. Tears Are Not Enough, Poison Arrow and the timeless The Look Of Love (repeated, to the delight of retrophiles, in the encore) took the mid-50-somethings in attendance back to the summer of ’82 as they danced in the aisles.

Even 37 years on, The Lexicon Of Love still speaks the right language.