There are some phrases that you rarely hear uttered.
Some will never be heard, such as an American President telling the packed Senate “Actually, yes – I DID have sexual relations with that woman.”
Others, however, could happen, but you’d disbelieve your ears. Sir Alex Ferguson admitting that his team deserved to lose. A used car salesman suggesting that the mileage of the fifteen year old Ford on his forecourt might not be exactly correct. You know the sort of thing.
I heard a statement just like this at the weekend. And I’d like to repeat it here, so that it gets committed to text and doesn’t get forgotten:
“Okay, guess I’ll have to take back some of what I said about the 80s musical art form. It certainly got people moving though – probably the easiest gig ever as far as getting people to shake booty.”
This quote came courtesy of our bass player – a really nice guy and excellent bassist, but somewhat of a self-confessed ‘connoisseur’ when it comes to his tastes in beer and music. To hear him discuss 80s music in such glowing terms is on a par with him asking for a gassy weak lager in a pub – something we would never expect to see in our lifetimes.
Why did this revelation come about? Well, I’ll tell you.
Last Saturday, we had the pleasure of playing at an 80s themed gig, and our entire set list had to come from ‘the decade that fashion and music forgot’. And given that Riser’s normal line up does not include a keyboard player, we tend to steer clear of 80s tunes. Well, it’s probably a combination of a) lack of keyboards and b) a veiled threat to murder us all with a guitar pick if we ever suggest any such thought.
The prep work for the gig was extreme. Of a set list of 36 tracks, we had probably played four or five before, so there was a lot to learn. We also decided that for this gig, we needed a keyboard player, and whilst we had played with Andy before, integrating him into the set-up brought its own challenges, with PA changes, patches, working out which bits of the song we needed him to work on and which bits we’d cover with guitars etc.
Suffice to say we all headed for the gig with a few twitchy sphincters, I guess.
We need not have worried.
From the opening number (U2’s Where The Streets Have No Name) through to the ending (Wham’s uber-cheesyg Wake Me Up (Before You Go-Go) followed by another U2 anthem, Pride) the dance floor was packed. Our sad attempt at costumes (we looked like a third-rate Village People tribute act) were overshadowed by the audience, who came as Adam Ant, Rubik’s Cubes, Rude Boys, Miami Vice, Michael J Fox, many, many Madonna clones, and even characters from Brookside, complete with curly wig and moustaches! It’s fair to say that the leg-warmer shop hasn’t done so well for ages!
The feedback from the audience and organisers has been superb, we’ve already had several enquiries for further bookings, and incredulity has been expressed as to how we managed to pull this gig off.
However, the things that I’ll always remember are the statements from the band. The admission from one that “this Wham song is really fun to play!”; the opinion from our guitarist that “we should ignore what we think and keep playing Dead Or Alive’s You Spin Me Round, because people love it”; the expression (admittedly from me) that we nailed the Simple Minds track, Don’t You Forget About Me”; and above all, the comment above, from our bass-playing music-lover, that “the 80s aren’t all that bad…”