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abc at the t'n'c

first published in the leeds innscene

Blimey Chris, what another steaming night.

You can say that again Torps, that certainly was a selection box you wouldn’t find in your stocking come Christmas morning.

Little did I realise as I watched ‘Stars In Their Eyes’ some time ago that I was soon to witness the real thing, and on the very day that England had whipped the Aussies’ behinds. Strange things were afoot. Martin Fry was about to jump out of the T.V. screen and come alive in front of us. Can you really believe it?

No, Torps. As I sat on that train I thought to myself 80s synth-pop is back in town, will it be the same? You know what I think it was better this time around.

Chris, I suppose we need to explain what we were doing and where. We were about to witness a modern miracle, the seemingly dead ABC were making their first visit to Leeds since I don’t know when. Yes, the stage at the Town and Country Club ( T+C ) was about to turn in to carrying-case for Pop’s legendary dry-ice masters. The venue that normally plays host to Brutus Gold, and all his mob, had mysteriously transformed in to a physical version of UK Gold - it was like living in a ‘Top Of The Pops’-world, but thankfully with the absence of Jimmy Saville.

And with a lighting system that resembled a bag of giant ‘pear-drops’, we eagerly awaited the holy fringe to pierce the mist and blast out the tunes he owes so much to.

We didn’t have much of a wait, as he strode on to the stage and broke the applause with a "Poison Arrow", this was obviously the popular choice, even though we had reckoned on it being in the middle, to gee the audience up a bit during the newer, less remembered, songs. After the initial blast from the past, the band fluctuated between old and new, and did very well too considering Martin is the only original member of ABC in the group now. The end of the gig was spoilt a little by the most obvious encore, ever.

That’s right, as a seasoned gig-er you tend to build up an intuition as to when the band are about to finish. This was no exception, as I stood there as they walked off, with nearly a full pint of bitter left. They still hadn’t played "The Look Of Love". You would think a pro like Martin Fry was above such tricks. Oh, no. "He tried and failed" as the immortal line goes. But all in all ABC staged a gig that even Adam Ant would have been proud of.

Right, with it being your first time, Chris, what did you think of the T+C?

Well, for starters it is such a classy place, I’m surprised they let you in. It’s the sort of place where at the end of the night, you’ll have to look hard to find a sticky patch on the floor. Not the sort of problem you encounter very often, Torps.

Indeed, the ashtrays were so clean, I was forced to stub my cig out on the back of your nice new brown Calvin Klein cords. And what a great venue the T+C is, good atmosphere, perfect acoustics and it’s not often that you go to a concert where the bar has a different make of beer for each member of the 9-piece band.

The ‘Worthys’ was almost as tasty as the backing-singer, and the ‘Fosters’ nearly as refreshing as seeing Fry on stage once again.

And isn’t it nice to see that he is still sporting the quiff ‘that defined a decade’, as Mike Morris said recently, plus it is still looking as razor-sharp as ever.

Just like Mike Morris’ wit.

Did you notice the roof, Chris? When they were originally doing the T+C out, it could so easily have turned in to the night-club in "Basic Instinct", neon-striped beams and all.

Although Torps, that may have meant that they would have Sharon Stone ‘on tap’ as it were, which is a bonus for any venue.

Well, it must have pretty good to have dragged you away from "Last Of The Summer Wine", and it is the perfect pub for people watching, we both noticed how the lead singer of support group Jai had struck up a special rapport with one particular member of the audience. If you know what I mean.

Yep, Torps. All we need now is the Rabbit’s final and legally binding decision on the T+C.

The Rabbit’s verdict: Thank your mother

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