Dexy’s Midnight Runners, George Michaels and Boy Georges, the casts of Hi-De-Hi, Grange Hill, and Police Academy, Bananaman, Scooby Doo and ET; these were just some of the characters that came together to celebrate the decade that taste forgot, as Rewind Festival made its return to Henley-On Thames for its 10th anniversary celebrations this past weekend (18th-19th August 2018). With fancy dress as obligatory as a filofax for a yuppie, the crowd fully entered into the spirit, as a host of artists and fans gathered in Oxfordshire to celebrate all things 1980s.
With a soundtrack provided by some of the most recognisable names in 80s’ music, Rewind South proved to be a veritable jukebox of top ten hits, and the perfect time-capsule for nostalgia-loving forty-somethings, families and more.
Following on from happenings in Scotland (Rewind Scotland), and Cheshire (Rewind North), Rewind South marked the final event of the season for the hugely successful franchise. Taking place at Temple Island Meadows, attendees strolled along the mile-and-a-half long towpath, or took the river taxi to the idyllic setting on the banks of the river Thames, for what has become the 80s' event of the year.
Friday (18th August) saw From The Jam kick off proceedings, with a short-sharp set of old school mod classics. With original Jam bassist Bruce Foxton laying down the bottom end, the likes of ‘Going Underground’, and ‘Town Called Malice’ proved the perfect appetiser for what was to come.
With myriad musical stylings, from the new wave synth of Howard Jones to the soulful tones of Billy Ocean (who paid tribute to the recently departed Aretha Franklin saying; “The Queen of soul is dead. Long live the Queen!”), and a double billing of Nik Kershaw and Chesney Hawkes, with songs like ‘When The Going Gets Tough’, ‘The One And Only’, and ‘Wouldn't It Be Good, it was a day jam-packed with classic tracks.
Fans of Stock, Aiken And Waterman's ubiquitous later-decade ear worms,weren't left disappointed either, as Jason Donovan arrived on stage. Taking the bow for ‘biggest heartthrob of the day’, the former Neighbours star summed up the atmosphere adding a personal note, saying; “Red wine, The World Cup, I turned 50… what a summer it’s been”.
With the night closing in, it was left to American R&B legends Shalamar and disco kings Kool and the Gang to close the evening, as revellers danced into the night.
Day two (Saturday 19th August) proved more of the same, with early arrivers treated to sets by both former, and current Mike And The Mechanics singers Paul Carrack and Andrew Roachford.
One-time Thompson Twins band leader Tom Bailey’s inspired set meanwhile proved that the multi-instrumentalist’s new material from latest release ‘Science Fiction’ is equally worthy to stand alongside the songs of his former outfit.
Mixing things up with tracks from his work with both Ultravox and Visage, Midge Ure’s impassioned mid-afternoon set saw him tackle an evocative ‘Fade To Grey’, an uplifting ‘Dancing With Tears In My Eyes’, and a rousingly moving ‘Vienna’.
With Carol Decker of T’Pau – whose powerful pipes have dulled not one iota in the thirty years since ‘China In Your Hand’ was released - Kim Wilde, Marc Almond and Jimmy Sommerville all proving huge hits with the audience, it was left to an elated OMD to bring down the curtain on Rewind 2018.
Taking to the stage for a one hour set that featured only on their catalogue of singles – baring one “New song – it’s from 1991!” – singer / bassist Andy McCluskey’s dad-dancing proved the perfect way to end the event, before revellers boarded the party boats to return back to the future.
Tickets for Rewind 2019 go on sale on 7th September 2018. For more information visit the official Rewind Site. Stay tuned for eonmusic’s interviews with Chesney Hawkes, Midge Ure, Carol Decker, OMD’s Paul Humphreys and more, coming soon.
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