Monday, 26 October 2009

The Nolans: I’m In The Mood Again - The Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Nolans: I'm In The Mood Again
Creative Director: Kim Gavin
Reviewer: Ian Cain

The recent reforming of The Bay City Rollers, The Osmonds, Kajagoogoo and Spandau Ballet seems to suggest that the ‘getting-back-together’ of seventies and eighties pop groups is a road well-travelled. Now one of the UK’s greatest girl groups, The Nolans, are proving that their revival path is paved purely with gold as they perform to sell-out venues across the country.

The wholesome Irish girls first took the pop scene by storm in 1974 and subsequently had a string of hits, the most notable being ‘I’m In The Mood For Dancing.’ They also supported both Frank Sinatra and Engelbert Humperdinck on major tours and sold more records than The Beatles in Japan.

The current line-up – Bernie, Linda, Coleen and Maureen – were responsible for the group’s most successful period between 1980 and 1982, making hits out of songs including ‘Don’t Make Waves’, ‘Gotta Pull Myself Together’, ‘Who’s Gonna Rock You’ and ‘Chemistry.’

Looking fabulous in their forties and fifties, the girls have now adopted a more stylish and sophisticated look. Gone are the spandex jumpsuits, the platforms and the boob-tubes and in come figure-hugging, curve-enhancing trouser suits, killer-heels and cocktail dresses.

The concert is billed as ‘the ultimate girls’ night out’ and that’s exactly what it is, incorporating all their biggest hits and best-remembered songs with the greatest girl anthems of modern times and a few surprises, too. Time has not diminished their ability to put on a show of the highest quality and their immaculate harmonies and clever choreography still result in women of a certain age leaping to their feet and dancing round their handbags as though they were still sixteen.

Technically, the concert is spectacular – a stunning set, great lighting design, a terrific sound system, pyrotechnics and even seven gorgeous, scantily-clad male dancers to cavort around the girls and spice up the show. The Nolan treatment is given to classics such as Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For A Hero’, ‘It’s Raining Men’ by The Weather Girls, The Bangles’ ‘Eternal Flame’, ‘Chain Reaction’ by Diana Ross, Girls Aloud’s ‘The Promise’ and disco diva Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive.’

Another highlight of the show was the segment in which the ladies step forward, individually, to perform a solo. Each of the songs seemed to match the voice and personality of the singer. Coleen gave a flirty version of Alesha Dixon’s ‘The Boy Does Nothing’, Linda sang an emotionally-charged cover of Duffy’s ‘Mercy’, Maureen opted for Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ and Bernie rounded off with Pink’s ‘So What.’

But, as you might have guessed, it was their own back catalogue that really raised the roof and ‘Attention To Me’, ‘Don’t Love Me Too Hard’ and ‘Crashing Down’ were rapturously received. One of the nicest moments of the show came when the group took their bows and left the stage. Not having performed their trademark track, ‘I’m In The Mood For Dancing’, the audience spontaneously erupted into an impromptu chorus of the song and were rewarded with the reappearance of the divas to deliver the number they wanted. Magical.

The Nolan’s family motto has always been ‘family first, showbiz second’ and they remained true to form with this show. Bernie’s husband, Steve Doneathy, was on drums, whilst Coleen’s husband, Ray Fensome played guitar. The sensational support act were family members, too, in the shape of Coleen’s son’s, Shane and Jake.

After an amazing evening’s entertainment, one thing is certain – I’m definitely in the mood again!

The tour continues at Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Sheffield, Hammersmith, Doncaster, Edinburgh, Dublin, Killarney, Castlebar and Belfast.
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