21 August 2019 (gig)
21 August 2019
Rewind Festival South's party spirit carried on despite a last minute headline act setback.
Revellers at the popular 80s weekender in Henley awoke to the shock news that Sunday's pivotal act, Michael Bolton, had cancelled due to ill-health.
Folk rock band The Waterboys galliantly stepped in to save the day, no doubt a big relief for the festival brand which suffered a huge setback when Rewind North was rained off last month.
Despite the last minute change, which caused some disappointment within the Rewind faithful, the headline swap didn't stop determined festival goers from enjoying a weekend of 80s nostalgia.
A huge hit on the dancefloor was Sister Sledge, featuring original member Kathy Sledge who plucked dancing queens from the audience for a highly entertaining stage dance-off to 'He's the Greatest Dancer'.
The glamorous girls took the audience on an epic journey through the band's rich back catologue of hits such as 'Frankie', 'Thinking of You' and 'We are Family', ensuring the crowds were well and truly 'Lost in Music'. Original motion footage of Sister Sledge on the big screen added a poignancy to their incredible performance.
Nostalgic emotions were also on a high on Saturday when headliners The Four Tops brought their Motown party songbook to the stage – a performance made even more special by the presence of original band member, 83-year-old Duke Fakir.
Duke showed the crowd just how to party when he joined his fellow Four Tops to perform their iconic choreographed dance routines. The hit songs such as 'Reach Out – I'll be There', 'I Can't Help Myself' and 80s hit 'Loco in Acapulco' were interspersed with Duke's personal reflections on the Four Tops' incredible career, while taking a well-earned seat.
Soulful 80s heartthrob Paul Young still set hearts racing in the audience as he took them on a trip back to their schooldays, with his much-loved favourites `Wherever I Lay My Hat`, `Come Back and Stay`, and `Every Time You Go Away`.
Other stand-out acts over the weekend were Birmingham's reggae pop band UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro, whose laid-back vibe and classic hits including `Red Red Wine`, `Kingston Town` and `Many Rivers To Cross` went down a storm with the Henley crowd.
Always a surefire crowd pleaser at Rewind, Midge Ure sounded just as good as he ever did, with rousing renditions of `Vienna`, `Dancing With Tears in My Eyes` and `If I Was`.
And getting Sunday off to a high note were From the Jam, who had one of the best-received opening sets we've ever heard at Rewind. Their passionate performance of classics such as `Going Underground`, `A Town Called Malice` and `Start` got the crowd up and jumping before the festival day had hardly begun, with many of the lyrics remaining relevant 40 years on.
It's amazing to think that some of these acts are celebrating 40th anniversaries this year, making 1979 a year to be reckoned with in terms of setting the scene for the phenomenal 80s decade that was to follow.
Rewind was also sent to Coventry in a musical sense with a veritable ska-fest, thanks to The Neville Staple Band, followed swiftly by The Selecter, giving die-hard Two Tone fans a double treat.
Well........we couldn't possibly end a review of this year's Rewind without mentioning another musical legend – the dynamic Lulu, who was celebrating 55 years since her chart-topping hit `Shout` (which was re-released in the 80s).
Lulu's powerful voice shows that she is still Relighting the Fire decades after bursting onto the British pop scene, entering the Rewind musical legends hall of Fame.
Once again, Rewind provided a rich tapestry of musical genres – from reggae, punk, rock and ska to pop, disco, Motown and soul - mirroring the incredible diversity that was unique to that glorious decade, the 80s.
Photo credit: Mark Apcar