BASINGSTOKE 2003 REVIEWS

 

Southern Daily December 2003
Anvil is rocked by blast from the past
SOME form of time-travelling vortex must have opened up in The Anvil last week.
Despite getting out of the car in what I'm positive was 2003, when I wandered into the auditorium I found myself back in 1980, where the minimalist electronica of John Foxx was pumping from a pillar of speakers.

There to support The Human League as part of their UK tour, the former Dennis Leigh and Ultravox founder member made for quite an arresting performer. Clad in black, and looking ever so slightly the distinguished "silver fox", he and his co-performer, Louis Gordon, delivered a powerful retro set in the manner of all similar early '80s music.

Performing hits like Underpass, it was a real blast from the mega-serious past, with lyrics that could make you absolutely crack up with the whole "she is illuminous" robotic pretension. It's funny to think now, looking back, how electronica must have seemed like a sound of the future - but, in reality, the innovative bands of the new millennium are ever more retro (think The Thrills and their Beach Boys homage).

But that's by the by. I was there for the experience of hearing live, for the first time, immortal tunes from my younger years.

The moment that Hard Times kicked in, a few determined females launched themselves in the direction of the stage, which was gradually revealed as a really rather stylish monochrome affair. Phil Oakey appeared from the back to great applause as the music segued into Love Action and Susanne and Joanne sauntered towards the audience.

Either the band have sold their souls to the devil or they sleep in formaldehyde, as all three were looking simply amazing, particularly Susanne, whose gravity-defying outfit was very much appreciated by the men.

The 90-minute set encompassed all the more jolly hits, and Oakey himself made a reference to the fact that fans had thought their last tour was all a bit too serious. Thus, this time around, we were treated to Louise, The Lebanon, One Man in My Heart, Things That Dreams Are Made of, Tell Me When, Heart Like A Wheel and the cheesily wonderful Human. Don't You Want Me, the final song before the encore, went down a storm as The Anvil sang along in accompaniment.

Resounding applause continued well after the final blast of Together in Electric Dreams, in appreciation of a very well-produced and performed evening out. On this evidence, the band could continue with this form of "greatest hits" presentation indefinitely.

It's quite something to finally witness a live performance from a band who you have loved for a lifetime, and quite something else when it's in no way a disappointment.