Smash Hits December 1981

Dave Rimmer

...An entire audience on their feet and dancing is a rare sight these days. But by the end of this show at Bradford St George's Hall, they weren't just stepping and shuffling in the stalls, but bouncing and bopping in the balcony too. After such a short time as a chart-topping band, their live set seems full of hit singles. The biggest cheer comes for early track "Empire State Human". By the time they've been dragged back on stage for a second encore, to their great embarrassment they've run out of songs. They have to do "The Things That Dreams Are Made of" for the second time of the night. Adrian comes on after and apologises because there is no slides left. "And now for the song", he adds justifiably proud, "for which I wrote all the words myself"...

Adrian's slides are a source of entertainment all the way through the show. From showing a few slides of "Star Trek" he'd photographed off the TV when he first joined the band back in '78. Adrian now has no less than 17 projectors and a staggering 1400 slides. He used not ot stand on the stage, but now he's built himself " a box with buttons on it" which he "plays" on stage. Three giangt screens hang the back, with enough room to project 12 slides at once. The images he chooses illustrates the songs in a daft, comic book sort of way: lots of hearts, for instance, during "Open Your Heart", or a watch ticking away among all the slides of the Kennedy assassination in "Seconds". Sometimes they comment indirectly, like the row of sheep which crops up in the middle of "Sound Of The Crowd".

Meanwhile, the front line of Susanne, Philip and Joanne provide singing and dancing, striking just the right balance between glamour and ordinariness; they look good, but it could just as easily be you up there.

In the middle are the musicians, Ian Burden doubles on synthesizer and bass guitar, Jo Callis plonks away energitically on his own keyboards and Mike Douglas, known to your ears through his playing on OMD's "Architecture and Morality", has been drafted in for this tour to operate the drum machine and play yet another synthesizer. It's Mike's birthday, and Oakey's hints all through the concert that something terrible's about to happen to him. Backstage, afterwards, he cops some cake in the face...