You’ve got to hand it to Bananarama: Reforming as a trio nearly 30 years after Siobhan Fahey went all indie and quit, they’re not doing things by half.
Their says-what-it-does-on-the-tin Original Line-Up Tour late last year was a 23-date nostalgia fest, then they popped over the pond to perform in North America and Canada, returned in time for a supporting slot on Michael Buble’s British Summer Time show in Hyde Park, and now they’ve released their Hammersmith Apollo gig as a double CD, a CD/DVD combo and a Blu-ray edition as well as on deluxe vinyl.
The three-disc vinyl edition with a gatefold sleeve and Siobhan, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward each adorning a disc, is gorgeous. The vinyl and CD sets also prove that the girls are much better singers than they’ve been given credit for, probably because of the fact they mainly sing in unison rather than in harmony.
But I’m not sure why you’d only just listen to the show when it’s so much fun seeing the trio in action on the DVD.
I was there for the second of the two Hammersmith shows (and gave it a five-star review at the time) and it was tremendous fun, but it’s even better seeing the Nanas - all of whom still look fantastic - and their iconic but easy-to-join-in-with dance moves in close-up.
The banter is as much fun as the music, with Keren deadpanning that debut single ‘Aie A Mwana’ (sung entirely in Swahili) “got to number 92” and Siobhan wondering if there are any truckers in the house and declaring ‘Damn!’ when no hands go up.
They do most of the early stuff first (‘Robert De Niro’s Waiting’, ‘Cruel Summer’, ‘Shy Boy’ nicely mashed-up with B-side ‘Boy Trouble’) before revisiting the Stock Aitken Waterman years with euphoric pop classics like ‘I Heard A Rumour’ and ‘Venus’.
Doing ‘Love In The First Degree’ as the encore is a case of saving the best for last and if the dancing boys in their undies are just projections on the screen who cares? Sara, Karen and Siobhan are so absolutely fabulous they don’t need backing dancers to frame them.
Bananarama Live At The London Eventim Hammersmith Apollo is out now on CD, DVD, Blu-ray and vinyl. For more about Bananarama visit www.bananarama.co.uk
Words by Simon Button