Music Park: Lost ’80s Live @ Warner Theatre — 9/21/18

3-FarringtonMann01 Farrington + Mann impressed as a standout act during Lost ’80s Live at Warner Theatre on Sept. 21, 2018. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

If a theater full of people singing their hearts out to “I Ran (So Far Away)” by A Flock of Seagulls doesn’t move you, I don’t know what else to say! If it sounds pretty exciting, read on for a recap of Lost ’80s Live, the hit-a-minute machine that brought Gene Loves Jezebel, Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow, Farrington+Mann of When in Rome, Animotion, Naked Eyes, Wang Chung, and A Flock of Seagulls to the Warner Theatre on Friday.

The evening began with Gene Loves Jezebel — that is to say, the US version of Gene Loves Jezebel, fronted by Michael Aston. Long ago, Michael split with his twin brother Jay have competing versions of the band — Micahel in the States and Jay in the United Kingdom. Regardless of the situation, Gene Loves Jezebel most certainly performed “Desire,” the 1985 single for which both brothers remain best known. Michael and Gene Loves Jezebel released an album, Dead Sexy, in 2009.

As you can see here in pix at the Warner Theatre, Michael is still ever the post-punk rockstar!

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Annabella Lwin sashayed around stage solo to a backing track, leaving me personally with the impression that Lost ’80s Live should have supplied the lady with a band! That said, her voice was strong as she belted out hits from her former band Bow Wow Wow, including the likes of “I Want Candy,” “Do You Wanna Hold Me?,” and “Baby, Oh No!”

Lady Lwin seemed in high spirits and pleased to be there, and she’s been all over the festival circuit lately, also appearing on other ’80s bills! Check her out at Warner Theatre.

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Farrington + Mann were a surprise smash! By the time the duo took the stage, the audience had filled in quite a bit. We all knew every word to “The Promise,” the 1987 hit from their former band When in Rome, and we sang along with glee. Clive Farrington and Andrew Mann also were quite the showmen, strutting their stuff and putting their impressive harmonies to synths, while reminding us how great are songs like “Heaven Knows.”

We strongly recommend checking out Farrington + Mann when they perform near you, and I predict you’ll be quite impressed. Here they are at Warner Theatre.

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One of the most anticipated acts of the night, Animotion also sounded terrific. Astrid Plane and Bill Wadhams led the band through several songs, including the crowd-stopping “I Engineer” from their strong second album, Strange Behavior, dating from 1986. And of course, the band performed “Obsession,” the cover that made them famous and left us glued to MTV for every time the video appeared. Animotion also featured a delightful new album — last year’s Raise Your Expectations.

Here are a very welcome Animotion performing at Warner Theatre on Sept. 21.

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Since 2005, Pete Byrne has been touring solo as Naked Eyes (with the passing of his bandmate Rob Fisher in 1999). At Warner Theatre, he was a bit rough and tumble, and ready to rock! Pete sang Naked Eyes hits like “Promises Promises” and “Always Something There to Remind Me” (a Burt Bacharach cover) from the Naked Eyes 1983 debut album, Burning Bridges.

Check out Pete rockin’ out at Warner Theatre!

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Okay, okay, Wang Chung put on a really great show with versatility and flair, playing instruments every which way and generally having the time of their lives. The only problem is that they were really kinda Half Chung, and we weren’t really properly warned. You see, Jack Hues (the blonde one) has retired from touring, leaving the reins to Nick Feldman (the brunette one). Well, surely, they are all shades of grey now except for the blonde Gareth Moulton, guitarist of the Cutting Crew, who filled in for the absent Jack. While these guys were really damn good, it felt a bit like a bait and switch that we didn’t know beforehand that the duo who made Wang Chung famous wouldn’t be present together.

That said, Wang Chung won the crowd over completely, playing “Let’s Go!” from 1986 smash album Mosaic and “Dance Hall Days” from 1984’s Points on a Curve. The band cleverly covered “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper and segued it into “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” Wang Chung’s biggest commercial hit. Huzzah, Wang Chang!

Here are the gents throwing down at Warner Theatre on Friday.

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Wang Chung got the entire theatre on its feet, and Mike Score kept them there with A Flock of Seagulls, thrilling the room with his infectious synthpop catalog — every one an irresistible gem. He started with “Modern Love Is Automatic” from that 1982 self-titled debut, and he didn’t let up. Other standouts included “Telecommunication” and “Space Age Love Song” from the same album. A Flock of Seagulls closed the show with a thunderous rendition of “I Ran (So Far Away).” By this point, the Warner Theatre had eased into a rowdy barroom atmosphere, in the best possible way, as revelers politely but ardently sang along with Mike.

Here is Mr. Score leading A Flock of Seagulls at Warner Theatre.

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Are you a diehard ’80s fan? Or even a casual fan who tunes into SiriusXM’s 1st Wave whenever you’re in the car? Serious or casual enthusiast, Lost ’80s Live is sure to entertain. Check out the traveling festival in one of its last remaining dates — Sept. 28 in Quebec, Sept. 29 in Philadelphia, or Sept. 30 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Bookmark its website, and keep your ears open for good synthpop and Lost ’80s Live announcements for next year.

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