Bananarama, Clyde Auditorium, 12/11/2017

Bananarama: Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, 12 November 2017

The Bananarama ladies always struck me as the ideal pals to have on a night out. They dressed however they wanted, did dancing any teenager could do, and probably sneaked a bottle of Taboo into their school disco. Those hazy, crazy nights were a distant memory for most of the Armadillo audience, who suffered from a bit of the “must we stand up for this dancing nonsense?” affliction that the Midge Ure gig did. Still, there were enough tipsy women wearing flashing devil horns and shouting “WE LOVE YOU SIOBHAN” to make up for it.

Ah yes, Siobhan. Arguably the main draw in this original lineup for one tour only malarkey, they sure made the most of her. After sitting on the stairs for a poignant rendition of Cheers Then, Siobhan walked off, only to dramatically reappear at the pivotal moment of Stay. Eagle-eyed readers will spot that it’s technically a Shakespears Sister hit, but it was half-‘Nana-ed and so nicely harmonised that I’ll forgive them.

The hits were very much all present, accompanied by music videos, old photos of the group, and all manner of Windows Media Player visualisations turned up to 11. I only failed to recognise a handful of the newer hits, but they were suitably funky and got the crowd dancing, so all was well. Standouts for me were the underrated debut Aie A Mwana, I Want You Back (“We don’t like singing this,” declared Sara, “it’s too high”), and Really Sayin’ Something, which even had something approximating a choreographed dance routine. (It was still joyfully half-hearted, though, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.)

Like many gigs I’ve attended, there were occasional problems with levels; I sometimes struggled to hear the vocals over the rhythm section. And, alas, the grimly inevitable expensive merchandise was also raising eyebrows (with the dearest item being a £90 jacket. I love Bananarama, but not that much.) But small niggles, considering the solid quality of the set.

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The patter between songs was minimal but cheery – clearly the Saturday gig had gone well enough that they could rib the bassist for not keeping up with their drinking levels. One lucky chap even got a rendition of Happy Birthday. The only thing that could have improved the night would have been a cheeky cameo from Terry Hall in the Fun Boy Three collaborations. From what I could tell, the audience left supremely satisfied – and in one woman’s case, supremely incapacitated from dancing in killer heels. (Definitely not from the wine everyone was drinking instead of the distinctly average DJ warm-up ‘act’.)

I’ve never heard the chorus of Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye roared so heartily pre-encore, with all the gruff enthusiasm of a crowd at an SPL match. And, as this is seemingly the only time the ladies are planning on getting the band back together, I’ll never hear it again. More’s the pity.