Review: Bananarama, Ipswich Regent, December 1

Girl group Bananarama. Photo: Contributed

Girl group Bananarama. Photo: Contributed - Credit: Archant

It was a faultless performance by Keren Woodward, Sara Dallin and Siobhan Fahey who helped define the 1980s. So why do I feel underwhelmed?

Seeing them together on stage after so long was really something.

It’s the first time the three of them have toured together and it makes me wonder what could’ve been had Fahey not quit at what turned out to be the height of their success, going on to form Shakespeare’s Sister.

Funnily enough, it was a track by the latter that got one of the biggest reactions of the night.

The trio segued beautifully from Cheers Then - a song fittingly about friendship gone wrong and a rare miss charts-wise - into the chart-topper Stay.

Woodward and Dallin were amazing. It was a beautiful interpretation, Fahey, who had disappeared into the darkness, rejoining them midway through was the closest I got to feeling tingly all night.

The vocals were top notch and you got all the hits you’d expect.

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The set-list included Nathan Jones, Robert De Niro’s Waiting, Rough Justice, Cruel Summer, Trick of the Night, Shy Boy, Boy Trouble, He was Really Saying Something, Preacher Man, I Heard a Rumour, I Want You Back, Venus, Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye), It Ain’t What You Do It’s the Way That You Do It and Love in the First Degree.

They even threw in the first ever demo they recorded, Aie a Mwana.

Everybody was on their feet the whole night and left on a high, but I felt there was something missing.

There’s a lot to be said for giving people what they want and not messing with classics, but I wish they had.

I’d love to have heard the group reinterpret some of their hits and really surprise us - play with the tempo, acoustic versions, let the excellent band off the reins.

They could even have sung a couple more Shakespeare Sister songs. Imagine what they could’ve done with You’re History or I Don’t Care.

They disco-fied a couple of tracks, including I Can’t Help It, but it wasn’t quite enough.

I liked the fact the production wasn’t big, brash or even that slick at times. It was just three friends having a great night out - which ultimately is what the sold out Regent crowd had.

The DJ, who kicked things off, deserves special mention. It was a shame more people weren’t on their feet but he didn’t care, dancing like you do when you think nobody’s watching. You just know he’s first up at a wedding.