Smash Hits December 1981

Mark Ellen

Concert? From back here it looks more like the Debenhams' Headgear and Cosmetics Counter Annual Fanc Dress Hop. A rippling sea of hair, hats and (oh yes!) very dressy '20s black lace veils bob energetically beneath the lip of the broad Rainbow stage. The back wall is scattered with an intricately-programmed pattern colour slides, making up collages, song titles or just assorted images. A lavish light show bathes the band and a gloriously rich and full-flavoured beat is booming out of the speakers and across the dance-floor.

To say they've improved in recent months is something of an understatement. They're a million times better in every respect (bar Phil's foolish trim; is it any wonder he's so critical of his photos?). The songs - well most of them - manage that rare trick of being immensely powerful (on radio too) without losing an ounce of their delicate gloss and sparkle.

I'd be lying if I said the whole show was stunning. Patches of slick, solid dance fare drift by punctuated every so often by an absolute classic. But there were enough of those to keep the show simmering - like "The Things That Dreams Are Made Of", "Don't You Want Me" and an old Rezillos' chesnut, "Destination Venus", whose author, the new League synth player Jo Callis, was carted off stage piggyback only minutes later by Ian Burden.

Big surprise of the night, though, were the girls, Joanne and Susanne. They dance, sing, move, look and dress no better than anyone else in the place - and it's perfect. Were they outrageously professional in any respect, the whole ragged appeal would be ruined.

Get used to them if you aren't already. The'll be around for a while.