Blaze, February 1984

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  • 1984 February



The Big One

Style Council, Mari Wilson, Ian Dury,
Elvis Costello, Hazel O'Connor
/ Victoria Apollo

Janine Booth

We didn't really know what to expect from the event, The press had concentrated on the musical content and, though 'sketches and comedy' were mentioned, no more was said.

The evening began well, as we managed to con 50 suckers into buying a copy of this rag. Fools!

The first part of the show was a series of comedy sketches, all on the nuclear theme, many set in post-nuke Britain. Against a variety of effective, gory backdrops, the sketches mixed message with entertainment, without being as excrutiatingly boring as lots of anti-nuke debates, discussions, meetings etc.

At the end of the first part, Elvis Costello came on, with Steve Nieve as piano accompanist. He was greeted by a great cheer, proving that the huge majority were there for the music, rather than the drama. Wearing the famed combinaton of dark blue suit and bright red shoes, he began the first of two sets, this one consisting of 'Pills And Soap' and 'Shipbuilding', both as stirring and harrowing as on record, with the added vocal power of live performance.

Elvis made a brief appearance as a Russian soldier rushing out of a wardrobe, before returning for his second set - solo, with an acoustic guitar. The rousing 'Peace In Our Time' did everything but get the audience to their feet.

This had followed an unconvincing Hazel O'Connor set. Despite her strong voice, the one song was pretty ineffectual - probably because it was not the standard of her earlier work.

Part Three was billed as 'all rock bands' (cue Paul Weller cringe). First on was Ian Dury, looking very small and very cute, amongst a great rabble of musicians. He began with the classic 'Sex And Drugs And Rock 'N' Roll' and then did the relevant 'Ban The Bomb' - the one that describes all the thrilling things you can do in the final four minutes after the siren: "Boil an egg, Have a cuddle, Cut your toenails, Make the bed, By the time this song is finished, Everybody will be DEAD"!

Mari Wilson was very boring, and thankfully only did one song.

The Style Council consisted this time of Paul Weller, Mick Talbot and Dee: they began, of course, with 'Money-Go-Round', (words-wise their best) with percussion and horns on backing tapes. Even though no-one was funking (the Apollo isn't exactly designed for a get-down), the audience loved it, clapping along to the not-exactly-famous "Headstart Back To Happiness'.

After a superb 'Long Hot Summer', Dizzy Heights came on, and rapped for a (very) good five minutes, backed by Paul's bass (!) and Mick's keyboards. Lastly, 'My Ever Changing Moods' brought a huge spontaneous roar, when Elvis Costello came on half-way through to take over vocals.

This was The Council's third concert in England, and was much better than the second, at Brixton - a combination of a more appreciative audience (no Nazis) and a much more forceful set.

Unfortunately, due to total dependence on British Rail, we had to miss U2. No doubt they were very good.

We've been promised a lot more of these 'theatrical shows for peace', and this one will continue the money-raising when the book, LP and video all hit the market. Proceeds are to be split between various peace groups. It is part of 4 venture by Susannah York. Nice one, and hopefully lessons will be learnt for the next one - a more danceable venue, more integration between the drama and the music.


Blaze, No. 3, February 1984

Janine Booth reports on the Big One anti-war benefit concert, Sunday, December 18, 1983, Apollo Victoria Theatre, London, England.


1984-02-00 Blaze page 19.jpg

1984-02-00 Blaze cover.jpg 1984-02-00 Blaze page 02.jpg
Cover and contents page.


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