80s popstars party in the park

OKAY, the fashion may’ve been dubious and the less said about the hairstyles the better – but eighties music ruled.

Tonight you can relive all the hits from some of the era’s biggest pop stars when the Town 102FM Summer Sessions tour hits Ipswich’s Christchurch Park.

Tony Hadley, fresh from the Spandau Ballet world tour will be joined by multi-million selling artists Rick Astley, ABC, Carol Decker and Go West - revisiting their massive repertoire of hits and performing specially chosen duets and collaborations.

“Well I have to do True, Gold and Barricades, but aside from that I just pick songs I think the audience will like and I will enjoy singing,” says Tony.

“I suggested we make a bit more of a show of it and do some interesting duets together, which are great, rather than just everybody come on and do their bit then you come off.

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“My set has a couple of old songs from Roxy Music and Hall & Oates and news songs from The Killers and Kaiser Chiefs. Myself and Rick do Boys of Summer, That’s Life and a couple of others. Myself and Peter sing Family man, and the three of us sing Girls In Their Summer Clothes and I Predict A Riot.”

He’s clearly enjoying the tour.

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“It’s different because I’ve had my Spandau head on since October and my band, bless ‘em, have been hanging around waiting for me. I love outdoor festival shows for me they’re the most fun.

“We’re all having a great time and for me it’s nice to come out from the Spandau Ballet tour and get straight out with my own band playing some beautiful country houses and having a good laugh. It’s great working with other artists as well.”

He and some of the acts have been friends for years.

“Oh we go back a long way, a hell of a long way. I mean Rick I’ve know for years and ABC, Go West, Carol Decker, known them for years. It’s a corking line-up. They’re all great musicians, great singers and you know they’re also really decent people as well; really lovely people and we all get on great and have a good laugh – there’s lots of laughs backstage.

“Any rivalry back in the day was more for the press than anything serious. I was always a huge Duran Duran fan and have always said if there was any other band back then that I could have been in it was Duran Duran,” says Tony, adding although the eighties was a good time for him, he doesn’t miss it.

Meeting and working with other musicians is one of the highlights of tours like this.

“When Spandau were in Australia just a couple of weeks ago we had special guests on who were Tears for Fears and it was great; what a great bunch of guys. I might be working with them in America at some point.

“You know, it’s good to meet other musicians, whether it’s Rick Astley or at V Festival when I was on stage with Scouting For Girls.”

Following the success of the Spanda tour, Tony is looking forward to getting back together in the future.

“The tour went brilliant actually. Contrary to probably what a lot of people thought, in terms of personalities I think we’re all getting on better than we ever did. We’re just older, wiser and we’ve really enjoyed it.

“When we got back together again – which I don’t think anybody thought would happen, including me as well – to all of a sudden do three sell-out shows at the O2, I think the first one sold in 20 minutes, knocked us,” he admits.

“We didn’t expect that so, yeah, I think we’ve had fantastic time. We’re all getting on brilliantly. Our last show was at Newmarket and we’ve all gone off to do our solo projects and everything, I’ve got an album to make this year as well. Then we get back together as Spandau in the spring of 2012, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly it goes.”

Tonight’s concert is a picnic-style affair, with music-lovers encouraged to bring chairs, rugs, cushions and picnics. Gates open at 5pm, with the artists on stage from 7.30pm. A grand firework finale will round off the evening.

Tony’s hoping the recent good weather continues.

“Listen, I’ve done festivals where it was absolutely tipping it down and everyone just got soaked and was rolling round in the mud, but it was great fun so whether it rains or shines we’ll have a bit of a laugh.

“That’s what I love about it and it’s a real combination of people as well – young kids and families – so the main thing is everybody comes for a great day. I think it’s going to be a great show.”

Tony is one of pop music’s greatest vocalists. As pioneers of the 80s Romantic movement, Spandau topped the singles and albums charts worldwide, the most memorable being the singles Gold and the international number one True.

He’s also a solo artist in his own right, spending the past 20 years entertaining audiences around the globe and releasing four solo studio albums to date. In 2007 he won a new legion of fans following his critically acclaimed performances as Billy Flynn in Chicago on the London stage.

Rick Astley is best known for his 1987 hit single in 16 countries, Never Gonna Give You Up. He holds the record for being the only male solo artist to have his first eight singles hit the Top 10 in the UK and has sold approximately 40million records worldwide.

He made a comeback in 2007, becoming an internet phenomenon when his video for Never Gonna Give You Up became part of a popular internet trend known as Rickrolling. He was voted by internet users as Best Act Ever at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2008.

ABC are one of those groups who come along once a decade to effect a shift in the way music is heard and made, who move it forward.

They formed in 1980 in Sheffield after then music journalist Martin Fry interviewed the band Vice Versa for his fanzine Modern Drugs. They adopted him as lead vocalist and changed their name to ABC, scoring hits including Poison Arrow, The Look Of Love, All Of My Heart and When Smokey Sings

In April 2009, ABC performed the Lexicon Of Love live album at the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Concert Orchestra - described by critics as a “glorious night that has placed one of the Eighties’ most perfectly constructed albums back near the top of the pop pantheon”.

Peter Cox and Richard Drummie haven’t looked back since pooling their artistic talents in 1982 to form Go West.

Regarded as one of the great singer songwriter duos of the 80s, the BRIT award winners’ many hits include We Close Our Eyes, Call Me, Don’t Look Down and The King Of Wishful Thinking.

Peter moved to LA to concentrate on his solo career, releasing an album in 1997; while Richard concentrated on his songwriting and record production - working with, among others, Ritchie Neville, Robbie Craig, Next Of Kin, 21st Century Girls and Debbie Gibson.

Peter returned to the UK in 2000 and the two began working together again on new material and touring.

Carol Decker is best known for fronting T’Pau, who enjoyed hits such as Heart and Soul, China in your Hand, Valentine and Secret Garden to name a few. She has also enjoyed solo success and acted on stage and screen.

For a review of tonight’s show, visit our website.

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