ABC live at Bournemouth Pavilion 28th Oct 2016

What a classy, fab evening this was! I’ve seen Martin Fry do a truncated ABC hits set about a decade ago on an 80’s tour but this was proper lush, with a full band and 40-plus South Bank Sinfonia a young-looking orchestra conducted by Anne Dudley – her of 80’s Trevor Horn art-pop project Art Of Noise. She orchestrated both Lexicon Of Love in 1981/2 and Lexicon Of Love II in 2016, and gave both projects class, and the live sound a full-bodied experience. Martin Fry was in five fettle, dapper, and the whole concert oozed romantic class.

The first half was basically the best ABC hits that didn’t feature on either Lexicon album, the fab When Smokey Sings to start with a bang, The Night You Murdered Love, equally great, How To Be A Millionaire, Be Near Me and others sprinkled in between tracks from Lexicon Of Love II. The 4 key tracks have all featured in my personal chart and are as good as anything in the first half, the terrific Viva Love, Flames Of Desire, Ten Below Zero and my personal fave Kiss Me Goodbye, just gorgeous, while I was also impressed by Anne Dudley co-write The Love Inside The Love.

Martin obviously hasn’t the range for the top notes these days, but he had fab support from 2 female singers for the more upper range bits, just as well as in part 2 they did the whole Lexicon Of Love album track by track in order, the classic hit singles require a touch of histrionics (I did my bit singing along, unhelpfully!) Tears Are Not Enough, All Of My Heart, and the show-stoppers Poison Arrow and The Look Of Love. Poison Arrow got the 40/50-something audience on it’s feet and stayed there for the reprise encore of Look Of Love (It’s impossible to follow that one). The album sounded fab – I checked my record collection and I don’t have it – yes, I bought all the singles and never got round to the album, which is something I need to correct as every track on it is a winner, a true classic album. Valentine’s Day, Many Happy Returns and Show Me could easily have been pulled off as further hit singles, for instance.

All in all, well worth the extra money to have the orchestra and a fantastic night out. Sing it loud!