100.3 Jack FM’s LOST 80’s LIVE At Verizon Theatre In Grand Prairie

One night, one stage, one journey back to the 80’s. At times I felt myself going back in time to the 80’s but there were differences to compare for example. A crowd in the 80’s would have been holding up lighters to show solidarity and love for their band. Now in 2017 the lighters have been replaced with a sea of “Facebook live” cell phone operators. Solidarity has been changed to the power of fan love and promotion that can spread over the world in a single moment. Sound changes that I noticed with this 80’s tour production. The difference between the 80’s and today is now we crank the bass back then, the kick was king.

The LOST 80’S LIVE staff did an exceptional job with this fun show. It was an extraordinary feat to put 10 bands on one stage in one evening. The small set changes went smoothly. Often band’s members would stay to jam with the next band. It was an 80’s Jam session featuring some of the best players of the day. If you loved the 80’s how could you forget NAKED EYES’ “Always Something There to Remind Me,” TOMMY TUTONE’S “867-5309/Jenny,” or WANG CHUNG’S “Everybody Have Fun Tonight”. Even the way BERLIN danced with the guitar player on stage was so 80’s. We were jetted back to a cool time of MTV, electronic drums, heavy keyboards and air Guitar.

This show had a lot of moving parts, but it went off flawlessly due to an amazing team. Here are a few individuals from that team that made this event happen:

Sound Designer: Jeff Michnal
Lighting Designer: Randy Smith
Monitors: Jake Chamley
Backstage Manager: Mo Rabii

CHRISTOPHER ANTON AND THE JONESES

Opening the show was CHRISTOPHER ANTON AND THE JONESES, featuring vocalist Christopher Anton, formerly of INFORMATION SOCIETY, before going solo with his debut EP Your Perfect Tragedy in 2008. With the recording of Anton’s solo debut he teamed up with producer Nick James, and began performing live with James (keyboards, synthesizers) and  Donna Jean Jones (keyboards, bass, percussion).

Christopher Anton has an authentic 80’s sounding voice. My favorite band member was the bass player, Donna Jean Jones, who rocked an SPDS drum pad and had some cute dance moves throughout the song. The band charmed the crowd and had everyone dancing with “What’s On Your Mind.” Their set was filled with pure energy. I loved this happy band. I later saw a video Donna shot from the side of the stage showing her hubby sneaking on to play keys with WHILE IN ROME UK for vocalist Clive Farrington.

Set List:
“Lay All Your Love on Me”
“Walking Away”
“What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)

 

THE FLIRTS

Christina Criscione, Kim Rowe, and Danielle McKee of THE FLIRTS hit the stage sporting white military jackets and stockings. They were incredibly sext as they were in complete sync with their very 80’s stylish choreography as they swayed with the rythym of the song.

The song “Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime)” has a line that made all of the girls giggle when they held up a little finger and sang the line “little things remind me of you.” The audience laughed and giggled as they clapped along to the music. Then at the beginning of the finale THE FLIRTS ripped off their jackets revealing sexy bustiers and performed cheerleading dance moves to the song “Danger.” They were seen later dancing onstage with TOMMY TUTONE. I kept hearing guys saying how hot these girls were still… even in 2017. All three women have an extended list of credits making up one amazingly talented band. These three mature BOMBSHELLS proved they were still THE FLIRTS!

Set List:
“Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime)”
“Danger”

DRAMARAMA

John Easdale vocalist for DRAMARAMA came out sporting a black cowboy hat, black on black suit coat, with red tennis shoes. He entered with tab soda and asked the audience last time they had drank one. This made us all laugh. As he left the stage he grabbed two tabs and left into the audience shaking hands and posing for selfies. He was well accepted as he  disappeared into the crowd.

Set List:
“Work for Food”
“Scenario”
“Last Cigarette”
“Anything Anything”

 

TOMMY TUTONE

DRAMARAMA and TOMMY TUTONE shared the same players to help with the set changes. The always cool Tommy wore a black shirt, black pants, with a black jacket, while sporting a black fedora and shades. The highlight of his set was when THE FLIRTS joined him on stage to dance and sing with Tommy on “867-5309/Jenny.”  I think that Tommy was even surprised because he reacted by saying, “Wow that was a treat!”

Set List:
“Angels Say No”
“Sylvia”
“867-5309/Jenny” (with THE FLIRTS)

 

NAKED EYES

The NAKED EYES set started with a sultry sax solo that turned into a romantic midnight swim immersing one’s ears in the music, circling and circling until you could feel your self standing at a foggy pier. Then as the music found a groove you  were transformed to a busy New York street. “Voices in My Head” was truly the most interesting of the night. Pete Byrne enticed the crowd into singing with him on “Promises Promises” and “Always Something There to Remind Me.” Looking back on the chart position of these songs I was a little surprised because the audience was singing every word.

Set List:
“Voices in My Head”
“(What) In the Name of Love”
“Promises, Promises”
“(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me”

 

CUTTING CREW

Nick Van Eede played guitar and sang his top ten hit “I’ve Been In Love Before.” I love the quote “the hardest thing is when you’re in it.” You could hear the crowd singing as he delivered a stellar performance. The highlight of their set was when they started playing “(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight” everyone in the building was on their feet filming and singing along. The band literally shook the room as I felt the platforms at the mix level position shake.

Set List:
“Any Colour”
“I’ve Been In Love Before”
“(I Just) Died in Your Arms”

 

WANG CHUNG

First, I like every song WANG CHUNG does. Second, they have the most interesting story for me because of my musical taste. The story of WANG CHUNG is that the bass player had problems with his bass when they were recording the song “Dance Hall Days.” To compound the problem he played a left handed bass. Fortunately, the engineer at Abbey Studio knew where to find a left handed bass. So in pops Sir Paul McCartney who hand delivers a left handed bass just in time for the recording of “Dance Hall Days!” Amazing story. The other interesting story is that Peter Wolf with J. Geils Band was the producer on their album. When they were recording, “Have Fun Tonight.” Peter heard one of the member sing, “Everybody Wang Chung tonight.” Stopping the session Peter said, you guys need to use this great line as the chorus. And that was the birth of their biggest smash hit!

Set List:
“Let’s Go”
“Hypnotize Me”
“Dance Hall Days”
“Everybody Have Fun Tonight”

 

WHEN IN ROME UK

WHEN IN ROME’S Clive Farrington sang and extended version of “The Promise,” the signature tune from the movie Napoleon Dynamite, and the crowd loved every minute of it. I have always loved the keyboard intro in this song and the band did not  disappoint. I was moved by the way Farrington and Rob Juarez encourage the crowd to join in on the chorus.

Set List:
“The Promise (Extended)”

 

BERLIN

BERLIN hit the stage dancing to “No More Words.” Many thought this was the best show and the best lighting of the night. For a great show you need to have great lighting and great visual video. We had both. Everyone was on their feet dancing. So we had great crowd interaction as Terri Nunn really strutted her stuff.

Nunn dressed in cute shorts with a black see-through over pants, slit up the side and a gold captains hat. She seduced the audience with her sultry voice with “Take My Breath Away,” as the nights celestial sky slowly turned behind her. One of my 80’s favorites was “The Metro.” After the show Nunn went around and thanked the house staff for their help. She treated everyone like she had known them for years.

Set List:
“No More Words”
“The Metro”
“Animal”
“Take My Breath Away”
“Sex (I’m A)”

TONY HADLEY

TONY HADLEY of SPANDAU BALLET sports 23 hit singles and has sold more than 25 million albums. I have to say that Hadley has an amazing voice. Hadley told the heart moving story of meeting Freddie Mercury. Then he began to sing the perfect  arrangement of the Queen song “Somebody to Love.” Hadley performed hit after hit as he had the longest set and the audience loved him. The highlight moment was when Hadely brought his female keyboard player up to sing at the front of stage with him. Their voices were a perfect blend.

Set List:
“Life on Mars?”
“Only When You Leave”
“Lifeline”
“Through the Barricades”
“Take Back Everything”
“Somebody to Love” (QUEEN Cover)
“True”
“Gold”

 

In summary, people say that today, we the older generation, are reliving our youth with bands of the past. The question is whether the bands were able to transport us back to the 80’s? I am going to say “The Lost 80’s Tour” hit the mark, and everyone … “Wang Chunged Tonight!”

If you get to see this show, know that “The lost 80’s Tour” is worth the price of the ticket!

 

 

Writer: Donna Everett
Photographer: Joe Guzman