It's 40 years since ABC's debonair front man Martin Fry first shot his poison arrows, writes Graham Walker.
Now, four decades on, he's still bang on target.
The Tears Are Not Enough star, backed by the incredible 38-piece Southbank Symphonia orchestra, conducted by The Full Monty soundtrack Oscar winning Anne Dudley, took the stage for a very special homecoming to belt out classic debut hit album Lexicon Of Love in its entirety at the City Hall in Sheffield, where it all began.
The historic concert itself, showcasing not only an iconic album but one of pop’s greatest voices, was thankfully recorded for all time – an official release is planned later this year.
"It’s exactly 40 years to the today since we released Lexicon Of Love – so it feels only right to be standing here on this stage to celebrate,” began Martin and the packed crowd went wild.
They cheered even louder two hours later when he slipped back into that 1980s trademark gold lame jacket for an encore of The Look Of Love.
What happened in between was an unforgettable first half of later ABC hits – from When Smoky SIngs and the Night You Murdered Love, to Viva Love, Flames Of Desire and Be Near Me.
Then came the main course, the second half performance of Trevor Horn produced album Lexicon Of Love, a timeless classic, which remains not just one of the greatest pop albums of the 1980s, but of all time.
The 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 with Poison Arrow, Tears Are Not Enough, All Of My Heart and The Look Of Love.
From the opening strings and bass fuelled Show Me to the subtle 4 Ever 2 Gether, and a timely Many Happy Returns along the way; this was a reminder of when pop was unashamedly more glamorous and adventurous.
Anne Dudley, who was responsible for ABC's original big, lush orchestral sound, joined in the fun sporting her own gold lame jacket.
This big orchestra re-imaging of perfect pop made it all the more special. A made in Sheffield sound that transported fans back in time to the days when the Steel City’s ABC, Heaven 17 and The Human League ruled the pop world.
Band mates Mark White, Stephen Singleton and David Palmer left the scene decades ago - but ABC’s iconic eighties frontman Martin and his incredible new line-up, plus that huge orchestra, more than made up for losses.
His interpretation, delivery and timing of the ABC songbook is masterful.
There's lots of trademark finger pointing, clapping and anecdotal stories from this national treasure, who looked genuinely touched to see fans up out of their seats, dancing and singing their hearts out.
It was the look of love.
That's the look, that's the look..
WATCH: Martin Fry chatted exclusively to Graham Walker ahead of the Lexicon Of Love 40th anniversary tour, working with Oscar winner Anne Dudley, what happened to those gold lamé suits and future album plans. Watch in full - CLICK HERE.
ABC LEXICON OF LOVE 2022 REMAINING UK TOUR DATES
Thu 23 London Royal Albert Hall
Fri 24 Newcastle City Hall
Sat 25 Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Mon 27 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Tue 28 Manchester Bridgewater Hall
Thu 30 Southend Cliffs Pavilion