REVIEW: Hip hip hooray aye as ABC's Martin Fry is right on target at Sheffield City Hall

THE Look Of Love was on every ABC fan's face as debonair front man Martin Fry took aim with his poison arrows and was right on target at Sheffield City Hall.

By Graham Walker
Sunday, 14 April, 2019, 13:17
ABC with 50-piece Southbank Symphonia orchestra performing Lexicon Of Love at Sheffield City Hall

With a new band, backed by the amazing 50-piece Southbank Symphonia orchestra, conducted by Oscar winning Anne Dudley - responsible for ABC's original big, lush orchestral sound - this was never going to be just another gig.

It was a homecoming party for the city's adopted son and national treasure.

Who broke my heart, he sang.

You did, you did, returned 2,000 voices in nostalgic harmony as one killer tune followed another.

LISTEN: Martin Fry talked exclusively to Graham Walker about the Lexicon Of Love orchestra tour, what actually happened to those gold lamé suits and new album plans. You can hear the interview in full - CLICK HERE.

The Look Of Love, Poison Arrow. Tears Are Not Enough and All Of My Heart were all lovingly revisited as chart-topping debut album Lexicon Of Love was performed in its entirety, back where the story began almost 40 years ago.

Thank you Sheffield

The first half was a greatest hits performance of all the other ABC classics, from When Smokey Sings to The Night You Murdered Love, including new hot radio favourites, Viva Love and Flames Of Desire, from 2016's Lexicon II.

Martin, aged 61, originally from Stretford, Manchester, but who founded ABC in Sheffield in 1980, saved the best while last - the number one album in full.

This fusion of big band, disco funk and post-punk romanticism pioneered a new wave era of glam pop, which re-ignited dance floors across the world.

The songs sound as fresh, vibrant and as relevant as they did in a pre-Brexit world, or “such an unstable world” as we hear in Tears Are Not Enough.

He's moved on from gold lame suits though his tuxedo had a distinct golden floral pattern

But it's not just the big orchestra re-imaging of Trevor Horn's perfect pop production which makes the night special.

Martin's voice, interpretation, delivery and timing really never has been better. Like a fine wine he has improved with age and at his very best he still makes many of today's pop stars sound second best.

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He's moved on from gold lame suits though his tuxedo had a distinct golden floral pattern.

There's lots of trademark finger pointing, clapping of hands and anecdotal stories - like the graffiti he spotted on city centre flats which inspired Lexicon track 4 Ever 2 Together.

ABC with 50-piece Southbank Symphonia

The showman had fans up out of their seats, dancing and singing their hearts out as they too rolled back the years to a time when pop was also unashamedly more glamorous and adventurous.

Take That may have been filling the arena down the road for four nights but this was the hottest ticket in town for lovers of 80s pop - even Take That support Rick Astley turned up after his shift.

Hip hip hooray, aye! That's the look, that's the look..

ABC LEXICON OF LOVE 2019 TOUR DATES

Tickets are available from venues and www.gigsandtours.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk.

Sun 07 Apr 2019 Southend Cliffs Pavilion

ABC frontman Martin Fry

Mon 08 Apr 2019 Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre

Tue 09 Apr 2019 Birmingham Symphony Hall

Thu 11 Apr 2019 Gateshead Sage 1Fri 12 Apr 2019 Manchester Bridgewater HallSat 13 Apr 2019 Sheffield City HallMon 15 Apr 2019 Brighton DomeTue 16 Apr 2019 London Royal Albert HallLINKS