There's a really good reason why Bananarama have had more hits in more countries than any other girlband in pop history: They've had more great songs. Their 2017 tour – which reunites Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward with Siobhan Fahey for the first time since 1988 – crams as many of those songs as possible into a 90-minute set and it's an absolute blast.
In great shape and on good form, the trio took the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith by storm on Monday as they ran the gamut from early hits like 'It Ain't What You Do It's The Way That You Do It' and 'Robert De Niro's Waiting' through the Stock Aitken Waterman years to post-Siobhan stuff like 'Preacher Man', even finding time to do the Shakespear's Sister hit 'Stay' that Fahey helped take to number one after she quit the band for indie-r pastures.
Those SAW songs proved the biggest crowd-pleasers in a show that started with 'Nathan Jones' (a Supremes cover that the Nanas had a big SAW-produced hit with) and ended with 'Love In The First Degree'. My favourite-ever Bananarama song 'I Heard A Rumour' (which is also apparently Pete Waterman's favourite-ever thing he's been involved with) came complete with the original video on the big screen at the back of the stage and the girls recreating the dance routine in tandem with their younger selves.
Sara, Keren and Siobhan don't seem to have aged a bit since that 1987 video - they're just as slim and sexy. And they don't appear to have taken dancing lessons, but then their rather nonchalant way with a hand gesture or hip move has always been part of their charm, as has their often bonkers banter.
Bananarama have never taken themselves seriously nor aspired to be anything other than their laid-back selves, but there's nothing throwaway about this new tour. Money has gone into the production, the projections, the lights and the band, which makes it very current. And bringing Fahey back into the fold has given Dallin and Woodward (who have been touring as a twosome since the late 80s) a jolt of energy.
They're great gals putting on a great show. Like Nathan Jones the original trio have been gone too long but it's brilliant seeing them back together.
Words: Simon Button