Gen X’s yearning brings ’80s acts Bonnie Tyler, Village People and more back


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You could tell just by looking at the queue forming up outside the Enmore Theatre that it wasn’t your average concert.

For starters there were no angst ridden Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift worshipping Millennials to be seen anywhere.

Rather, men and women well into the middle stages of life, had formed an orderly line.

The women wore sensible shoes rather than painfully high heels. The men were dressed in fashions straight from the racks of Country Road and Sportscraft, good sensible colour. A few of the more daring girls wore a shock of pink or a splash of sequins.

But then again, this was a queue for a Bonnie Tyler concert, her support acts being fellow ’80s pop stars Eurogliders and Rick Price, with more froth and bubble than a vanilla malt milkshake.

Any remnants of our misspent youths had been left back in 1986, frozen in perpetuity in a tub of glitter hair gel.

Even the mosh pit was the most polite I’d ever been in, as ladies complained of their Spanx being too tight between songs, they were remarkably courteous as we attempted a middle-aged surge toward the stage in a plume of motherly perfume.

Tyler, the woman who gave the world Total Eclipse Of The Heart and giant hair, had managed a sell-out show. Indeed it was clear she was an artist who had cottoned on to the lucrative potential of the nostalgia market.

But Tyler is just one of many artists from another era who have rekindled long-forgotten music careers, both international and local, to cash in on Generation X’s yearning for the good old days, just as the Baby Boomers had done before them.

Acts like Boney M, KC and the Sunshine Band, Sister Sledge, Suzi Quatro, Meatloaf, Pseudo Echo, Uncanny X Men, Cold Chisel, Boom Crash Opera, Models, John Farnham, The Chantoozies and Kids In The Kitchen are currently either touring or slated to start touring Australia.

But it is not always an easy ride back from the brink of pop culture abyss, as the one time kings of disco the Village People are currently discovering.

In July it was announced the Village People would return to Australia for yet another tour, either their 38th or 62nd (I’ve lost count) with the big news that the original cop, Victor Willis, would be rejoining the act after a 25-year absence.

But then, on the Village People Facebook page, a worrying status update appeared that said: “WE LOVE OUR AUSTRALIAN FANS, so we want all of you to know that we are not the ones performing at the shows currently being advertised for Australia in December 2017.”

What the …? Before long it was all out war, with Willis responding: “The original Village People concept is any five characters behind the powerful voice of Victor Willis.”

Willis, who has been embroiled in a legal battle for years but has now successfully laid claim to copyright of much of the music he co-wrote for the Village People, including some of its biggest hits such as the YMCA, as well as the band’s name, went on to explain he had chosen to “return to that concept in efforts to breathe new life into the group”.

But there is plenty of life in the existing line up according to the construction worker, Indian, cowboy, leather daddy and army man, some of whom have remained in the act since the hugely successful but hilariously camp You Can’t Stop The Music movie became a smash hit across Australia and the world in 1980.

But according to Willis it was now time for them to “move on with their lives … They had a great run”.

It’s enough to bring Bonnie Tyler’s bright eyes to tears.

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