CONCERT REVIEW: Lets Rock Retro Winter Tour – SSE Hydro Glasgow -11th December 2019

Lets Rock Retro Tour // SSE Hydro Glasgow 2019 // Photo Credit James Edmond 

Arriving at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro on a cold December winters night, the coloured lights glowing around the Hydro’s dome lit up the night’s sky, with their adapted Christmas tree in front on the venue dominating the venue frontage.

On approaching the venue, you could see by the crowds gathered outside waiting to get in they  were dressed for the occasion, ready to celebrate the greatest decade in music, wearing t shirts with “Choose Life”, bright coloured tutu’s, with brightly coloured full length gloves and the traditional 80’s leg warmers. The scene was set for a night of some of the greatest bands and artists from this decade. The show is hosted by Pat Sharp and Dave Benson Philips.

The venue as packed waiting for a trip back in time to see their favourite artists perform the classics from the decade. First up to get the show going was a host of support arts and bands,  ready to get the audience warmed up before the four headlining bands, was Dr and the Medics fronted with the over the top Clive Jackson delighted the crowds with SladesMerry Christmas Everybody”  the audience were on  their feet singing along to the Slade classic from the first cord, this set the tone for the evening, swiftly followed by the song that made Dr and the Medics a big hit “Spirit in the Sky”, Clive was on stage wearing not what you would expect, his usual over the top costumes were not the theme,  but a more tribal look,  including his light up skull / witch doctor microphone stand. The band were delighted to be performing in front of the Glasgow audience waving to them and relishing the occasion.

As Dr and the Medics left the stage,  hosts Pat Sharp and Dave Benson Philips came on and chatted about the next band,  dropping hints to who they were and filling in the change over time with a bit of light entertainment,  before introducing the next artist,  who was Peter Coyle of The Lotus Eaters. Peter entertaining the crowd with Crowded HouseDon’t Dream its Over” and a beautiful version of the ELO classic “Mr Blue Sky” before singing the Lotus Eaters classic “First Picture of You”, the Glasgow audience was in full swing,  lending their voice singing the song word for word in full voice. Peter’s face lit up hearing the crowd singing back his classic.

Bow Wow Wows  Annabella was next up, not as wildly dress as she used to be but still giving it all the adoring Glasgow audience performing “C30, C60, C90 Go!”, and “Go Wild in the Country” before she removed her beanie hat to perform the excellent Bow Wow Wow classic “I Want Candy”. covering the whole of the Hydro stage absorbing the atmosphere, making eye contact and interacting with every person in the front few rows who were on their feet dancing along to the classic songs.

Next up was the welcome return of Mark Shaw and Then Jerico, dressed in black from head to toe and featuring sunglasses he played “The Motive”, the song that catapulted Then Jerico into the British music scene back in the day, still sounding as fresh as it did back then. Mark covered the whole of the front of the stage delighting his fans with his moves during the song. Removing his sunglasses, the opening chords to the bands biggest hit echoed around the venue “Big Area”, the adoring fans dancing up and down the front of the stage and around the venue singing word for word. Mark was absorbing the atmosphere, and delighting the crowd with his dance moves and awesome vocals. The set was short like the previous bands / artist leaving them wanting more from the singer, by the look on Mark’s face you could see he wanted to stay longer, hopefully it will not be too long before he is back in the city performing, he waved as he said good bye, leaving the stage, to a rousing applause from the Glasgow crowd, the show was indeed heating up.

Mrs Claus made an appearance in the form of Liverpool’s Sonia, dressed in her festive outfit she delighted the Glasgow audience with her hits “You To Me are Everything” and her classic “You’ll Never Stop Me From Loving You”, taking in the atmosphere of the Glasgow crowd and delighting them with her stage presence and performance.

As Pat Sharp and Dave came back on stage to introduce the next performer as the girl from Quadrophenia, the girl we all love, pin up girl from the decade this is Toyah. She came on stage with her crown and dressed in a stunning sparkling purple dress with large rings around the cuffs, greeting the Glasgow audience and going straight in to amazing short set with wonderful vocals and performance of her classic hits of “It’s a Mystery” and “I want to Be Free” to the adoring Glasgow fans.  

Next up was local girl Clare Grogan from Altered Images, dressed in a black glittery dress, entering to the opening chords of the Altered Images classic “Happy Birthday”, she changed the words slightly to “Merry Christmas” before going into her classic songs of “I Could be happy” and “Don’t Take to me about Love”, delighting the home crowd with a remarkable performance.

Next up to close this half of the show was 80’s legends that had so many hits throughout the decade and party anthems to close this part of the show was the excellent Boney M. They brought the house down with “Daddy Cool” before taking it up a level to the excellent party anthem of “Brown Girl in the Ring” and ending their set with the colourful hit “Rivers of Babylon”, the singers danced and gave their all, delighting the audience and dazzling them with their colourful stage outfits. As they finished the set, the venue lights came on to bring a short break to what has been a remarkable performance and show at the SSE Hydro.

After a short break, it was now time for this evenings headline artists, first up was the excellent Nik Kershaw, sporting shades and guitar he delighted the audience with his hits, and a surprise along the ways.  Opening with “The Riddle” and his classic “Wouldn’t it be Good”,  he delighted the audience  performing the song he wrote for Chesney HawkesThe One and only” before closing his set with “I won’t let the sun go down on me” this was a wonderful set from Nik, which clearly delighting the crowd.

Next up was the long-awaited return of eighties icon Marc Almond, he did not disappoint standing centre stage performing songs from his solo albums and Soft Cell classics he had the crowd in awe. Opening up with the classic “Tears Run Rings” before treating the Glasgow fans to the “Bedsitter“ from his Soft Cell days, the performance was taking the show to a whole new level when he delighted the crowd with “Something’s Gotten Hold of My heart”, feeling every word he created a magical atmosphere, commanding the venue with a stunning performance and amazing vocals. He closed his set in with amazing versions of Soft Cell classics “Tainted Love” complete with “Were Did Our love Go” before closing his set with “Say Hello Wave Goodbye”,  Marc was on top form and captured the venue with his presence and performance.

Nearing the end of a the amazing step back in time to this wonderful decade, there was only two artists left and it was time to welcome Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley to the stage in New Romantic style, he delighted the audience to “White Christmas” before delving deep into Spandau back catalogue with stunning performances of classic hits “Through the Barricades”, “True” and “Gold”. He also performed a wonderful version of the Queen classic “Radio Ga Ga” that delighted the Glasgow crowd, a stunning performance, passionate and delighting the fans to his tremendous vocal range, he controlled his set wonderfully with his stage presence and delighting his faithful with a set of classics.

To close the amazing night of music was ABC and Martin Fry, looking remarkable with this black and gold jacket he took centre stage with his band to perform classic hits from ABC. Delighting the audience with “Poison Arrow” and “All of my Heart”, the crowd were captivated by his moving performance, as he stole the show with the outstanding “The Look of Love”.

Let’s Rock Retro Winter Tour brought families and friends together, celebrating a unique decade in music. Mother and daughters, and groups of friends, dancing and singing along enjoying a night of amazing artists on one stage together, mingling a decade of music with the magic of Christmas. The amazing people of Glasgow dressed up with eighties style clothing and turning three and half hours of music into a special occasion. This was amazing to be part of and if you missed this event watch out for the open air festival taking place in Dalkeith Scotland, in June 2020.

Review By Karen Edmond & Photographs by James Edmond