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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 19, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 42
Seattle fans go ape for Bananarama
Arts & Entertainment
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Seattle fans go ape for Bananarama

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

BANANARAMA
HARD ROCK CAFE
October 13


It was nuts - bananas, actually - when '80s musical act Bananarama played to a packed room at Hard Rock Cafe last weekend. The onetime trio, slimmed down to a duo these days, performed their first-ever Seattle concert in front of an animated crowd of mostly Gay men and straight party gals. These weren't your ordinary hands-in-pockets scenesters, seeking to be noticed and focusing only momentarily on the stage. No, these were folks who listened obsessively to Bananarama back in college or high school (or maybe junior high) and were involved during the performance from start to finish.

After a rather good warm-up cover band played hits of yesteryear, from 'Relax' to 'Send Me an Angel' to 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)', Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin made their appearance to a riled-up audience that included gentlemen holding up vintage Bananarama records, such as a vinyl copy of the group's 1986 album True Confessions that is now considered a rarity.

Saturday night's show was full of greatest hits from the female pair, who were supported by at least three touring musicians (a keyboardist and two guitarists), two young male dancers, and auto-programmed background vocals. Most of the songs, including 'I Heard a Rumour' and 'I Want You Back,' sounded very similar to the original recordings. But other material was given new twists, like a remix of 'Cruel Summer' and an extended version of a recent smash single, 'Move in My Direction.' Surprisingly, there were a few popular favorites left off the set list, such as 'I Can't Help It' and 'More More More.'

There was plenty of dancing, lots of energetic Gay boys jumping up and down, and even a little drama. Two separate mini-brawls broke out midway through the performance, both involving aggressive fans attempting to bulldoze themselves to the front. One of these altercations ended with a large woman throwing ice cubes at a male concertgoer.

During 'Venus,' Bananarama invited about 20 people to join them on stage. They certainly had a blast up there displaying some interesting moves and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Woodward, in a red dress and long brunette hair, and Dallin, in a black dress and shoulder-length blonde locks.

The fun concluded with an electronic-laced rendition of 'Love in the First Degree' and a huge sing-along to '(Na Na Hey Hey) Kiss Him Goodbye.' No encore was offered for this performance - a little disappointing but not heartbreaking.

Up until the Spice Girls began their world dominance in 1994, Bananarama reigned as the U.K.'s biggest-selling girl group. This explains the craze following them wherever they go. And hopefully, we can count on venues like the Hard Rock Cafe to deliver more retro music acts to our doorstep.

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