Kicking off on Saturday (21st August), attendees arrived to the sold-out fest in their thousands - mostly by taking a cruise up the Thames on river taxi - for one of the most anticipated events of the year (for a certain generation!)
Following an early afternoon opening from Scottish soulsters Hue & Cry, Trevor Horn delivered one of the most impressive sets of the weekend. Taking in decades of pop perfection from his career as a producer, Horn’s eleven-piece band delivered note-perfect renditions of some of the greatest tracks of a generation. Kicking off with an inspired 'Two Tribes', and going on to cover the Yes classic 'Owner of a Lonely Heart', it was the singalong 'Video Killed the Radio Star' that gave the festival one of its stand out moments.
Drawing one of the largest crowds of the weekend, Billy Ocean enthralled the crowd by brazenly opening with arguably his biggest smash - 'When The Going Gets Tough’ - before going on to nail a number of classics including 'Love Really Hurts Without You'. Taking the title of Rewind's favourite act, he was a tough act to follow.
Not to be outdone, Rewind regular Nik Kershaw brought the house down with an emphatic 'Wouldn't it be Good' and a timely 'I Won't Let the Sun Go Down on Me', which arrived just as the orange orb in the sky poked through the threatening storm clouds which loomed all day, but mercifully never delivered.
Altered Images' ever youthful Clare Grogan meanwhile was overcome during her short set. Echoing the feelings of all in the field, "It's been two years", she said adding; "I'm almost crying. This is what we've been waiting on!"
Closing the first day, Jimmy Somerville looked to be having an absolute ball up on stage as he belted out hits 'You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)', and ‘Don't Leave Me This Way'. Clearly enjoying the rapturous reception he was receiving, the singer said; "It looks from here, absolutely fucking smashing!”, gazing out over the capacity audience.
For a weekend which predicted fierce thunderstorms, the sunshine arrived in time for day two on Sunday (22nd August), as Aswad took to the stage. The perfect accompaniment to the welcome rays, the band's reggae sound was a treat for those making it down early.
For a weekend bursting with iconic hits, Peter Cook and the Light's set was the very definition of all-killer, no filler, as he raided the New Order and Joy Division catalogues. Peaking with a colossal ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, the bassist proved exactly why his legacy is so revered.
A sea of pink flamingos across the arena could only mean one thing, welcoming Marc Almond to the stage in the early evening. "Isn't it great to be back together after so many years?", asked the Soft Cell singer during his incredibly popular set.
Faithfully off-kilter during their appearance, Bananarama meanwhile crowned the Henley throng; "the best audience of the year".
And so it fell to Wet Wet Wet to close what had been an incredible return for the sold-out Rewind. Sticking to the winning formula, the band now fronted by Kevin Simm fired through their catalogue, with highlights including a celebratory ‘Sweet Little Mystery’ and show-stopping ‘Love is All Around’.
Rewind Festival returns to Scotland, Macclesfield and Henley-on-Thames next summer, bringing more icons from the ‘80s and beyond. For more information visit the official Rewind Site.
Stay tuned for eonmusic’s interviews with Wet Wet Wet, Trevor Horn, The Christians, Altered Images and more.
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Check out our gallery from the weekend, below. All photos by Eamon O'Neill.