Review: Sounds of the 80s Live with Gary Davies at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham

What a night! I sang and danced my little heart out like I was back in the 80s with a hair brush for a mic.

Too young to go to a Radio 1 roadshow back then (and too old now) Gary Davies Sounds of the 80s Live at Nottinghams Royal Concert Hall is the closest I’m likely to ever get to the glory days of Radio 1. It was, like my own, the sound track to the audiences youth. You could almost feel the buzz of excitement as you entered the venue.

Some of us were dressed up for the occasion, others more casual, but it wasn’t long before we were all reunited in 80s nostalgia as the iconic DJ, alongside producer, Johnny Kalifornia, took the stage to bring the sounds of the 80s to life.

Johnny Kalifornia kicked the show off with a high-energy set of 80’s classics. Tracks from artists including Yazz, Salt n’ Peppa and Dead or Alive, soon had us on our feet in this half hour warm up for Gary.

The Royal Concert Hall strikes you as a strange place for the show as there’s not a lot of room to dance, but with a lot of ‘hands in the air’ type moves we couldn’t help but get into the groove (pardon the pun). The warm up sets the tone fantastically for the rest of the evening, with Davies taking to the stage shortly before the last couple of tracks.

A mock up of a radio studio is the only set, with a door from which Gary and his guests enter and leave. We’re counted down as though the show is actually going live on the radio. As the ‘woo Gary Davies’ clip plays I spy a few people understandably checking radio schedules toes if we are.

Sadly though, from an idea which on paper doesn’t sound like it would work, ie a radio DJ on stage in a theatre full of people who can’t really dance or easily get to the bar, proves to be a massive success. I can’t help wondering why it’s not actually recorded or broadcast live on radio 2.
Presumably it must be the same set list at each show, otherwise why not? (also why did the bar close well before the end of the show?)

Gary was always, as I remember it, the cool mid morning one, sandwiched between Simon Mayo and Steve Wright. His career has seen longevity, likely to the fact that, as we observed, he’s an engaging and entertaining host. All the features we remembered were there, such as ‘Gary’s bit in the middle’. We also had ‘Garys Gang’. A troupe of dancers in 80’s style outfits doing 80’s style choreography who occasionally came on stage through the afore mentioned door.

Sadly no ‘Willy on the Plonker’ (probably wouldn’t get the green light nowadays), but we did have ‘Gary’s Sloppy Bit’. This segment was probably great for the couple involved, but in some ways lost the audience as the couple were sang to by Then Jericho’s Mark Shaw, and we all sat down. We didn’t want to do that.

Yes, at times it’s cheesier than a wheel of stilton, but for a moment in time we’re back in the day. Life is simpler. We’re clapping bands that aren’t there, we’re clapping each other. We feel so good we’re simply f**king clapping and celebrating life. Wow! it’s amazing what music can do.

Thank you Gary. Come back soon.

Review by Tanya Louise


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