Kim Wilde was the biggest-selling British female singer of the 1980s. Whilst some are quick to dismiss her as an attractive blonde who got lucky, one cannot ignore the timelessness of her tunes. Her music is rhythmic and catchy, and there is depth to her lyrics that resonates with so many. Wilde’s songs cover a wide variety of issues, from typical heartbreak to obscure suicide.
Many of her songs were primarily written by her father (Marty Wilde) and her brother (Ricky/Ricki Wilde). Wilde’s career was essentially a family business, and she’s never forgotten that. Ricky is part of her touring band, and Ricky’s daughter, Scarlett, is Kim’s backing singer.
Before Wilde took to the stage, we were treated to a small set by China Crisis. The guys were joined by two (noticeably younger) musicians. There were a couple of interesting instruments onstage, including what looked like an electronic flute!
The band poetically opened their set with their breakthrough single, ‘Christian’. They then told us that each night, a different member chooses a song – and tonight’s song, chosen by Gary Daly was ‘Bigger the Punch I’m Feeling’.
Their last three songs were their three remaining top 20 hits: ‘Black Man Ray’, ‘Wishful Thinking’ (their biggest hit), and ‘King in a Catholic Style (Wake Up)’.
Whilst Eddie Lundon is usually the lead singer, Gary Daly sang lead on their biggest song. This has happened with other bands too, like Shakespears Sister: whilst Siobhan Fahey usually sang lead, Marcella Detroit sang lead on their biggest hit, ‘Stay’.
It was an enjoyable opening set, except for the aggressive, middle-aged man sat in front of me yelling at me and my friend for talking. I could hardly hear my friend so I’m not sure how he could hear her! Perhaps he’s just a perpetually angry Kevin that doesn’t get out much.
Alas, we didn’t let the miserable sod sat in front of us ruin our night. Wilde made sure that everybody had a helluva night – even his miserable, old arse.
Whilst she only wore one outfit for the entire concert, she moved one item partway through, later removing another, and then adding a silver cape and hat when she returned for the encore. These mini costume changes helped break the concert up a little bit.
She looked fabulous in her black and red, punk-esque costume, complete with a corset and black fingerless gloves. It’s hard to believe that she is in her 60s; she looks remarkable! Her conventional beauty was always part of her brand – and she’s maintained it.
Wilde opened her set with a snippet of ‘Rage to Love’ before going into ‘Never Trust a Stranger’. Alongside some lesser-known songs, she sang most of her hits: ‘If I Can’t Have You’, ‘The Second Time’ (aka ‘Go for It’), ‘Water on Glass’, ‘Love is Holy’, ‘Love in the Natural Way’, ‘Four Letter Word, ‘Cambodia’, ‘View from a Bridge’, and ‘Chequered Love’.
The main set ended with ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ – her cover of The Supremes’ song that reached number one in the USA. She opened the encore with fan favourite ‘Pop Don’t Stop’ before singing ‘You Came’ and ending on her debut single and signature song: ‘Kids in America’.
It was a wild concert, in which Wilde jumped from genre to genre and embodied a plethora of emotions. Both lively and energetic, it was clear she was thrilled to be there – especially since the pandemic forced her to postpone the tour twice. She seemed so grateful to still be doing what she loves best. Her undeniable delight added to the enjoyment of the concert.
Sure, she was never known for being the best singer, but her voice has aged wonderfully, and I was very impressed by some of her vocals (in particular, there were a couple powerful “you came[s]” in ‘You Came’). She has taken care of her instrument, cherished her voice, and that’s why she’s still attracting scores of fans to beautiful music venues, such as the Bridgewater Hall.
Wilde took us back to the 80s for a nostalgic night of classy craziness, but, through her skill and performance, we were reminded that we were four decades from her premiere – and she’s still got it!
Kim Wilde is touring the UK, with The Greatest Hits Tour, until 7th October – before touring continental Europe from October 16 until December 10.