Bananarama are back! After bringing us hit after hit in the 1980s, the group has returned to U.S. soil after 23 long years, and it’s all for a good cause. Singers Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward launched their first American tour since 1989 in support of Hard Rock’s PINKTOBER breast cancer campaign that will fund the work and pay the salaries of three cancer researchers for an entire year. October being breast cancer awareness month, it’s the perfect time to amp up the fight for a cure…with guitar amps. Plus it allows for U.S. fans to see the pair of pop Venuses live and in person for the first time in two decades. Double win!
The 8-city concert series kicked off Tuesday night at Hard Rock’s massive Times Square location, formerly the home of the legendary Paramount Theater. Not a bad place to stage a comeback. Sadly, the reunion did not feature original third member Siobhan Fahey, who left the band in 1989. But Sara and Keren did just fine on their own as they took to the stage with their stellar band and two rubber-limbed backup dancers who bore the brunt of the girls’ musical flirtations.
Their opening salvo paid tribute to their girl group roots; “Nathan Jones” was originally song by The Supremes, and “He Was Really Sayin’ Something” started life as a piece of early 60s Northern Soul from The Velvelettes. Of course, their own classics like “Cruel Summer” and “I Heard A Rumor” followed soon after, which turned the scene into a joyous PG-rated rave, with crowds decked out in glow sticks and blinking necklaces pogo-ing in front of the stage. We were partying like it was 1985, y’all!
But it wasn’t just a look back. The beautiful Brits made sure to sprinkle in some brand new butt-kickin’ dance floor fillers. “We’ve got a couple of new ones that we’ve just written and we just made available,” Keren told us before the show. Called “La La Love” and “Now Or Never,” they’ll definitely become required listening on the club scene. “We’re looking forward to performing them because we just did them in Singapore for the first time and the audience seemed to really like them,” she continued. “So I’m looking forward to doing the new stuff.” But their closing one-two punch of “Venus” and “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” was so potent that it got the audience dancing up on the stage!
Despite being away for over two decades, the ladies have nothing but good memories from their last trek across the U.S. “We loved it so much,” Keren said. “We toured all by bus, which was the party bus. I still think of it as the best time of my whole life.” But one moment not only towers above the rest; it pummels all other moments into submission with a mean left hook. “I remember being in L.A. and Mike Tyson was on the street and he sang ['Cruel Summer'] to us. We just thought, ‘Oh my god, we’ve made it in the States!’ It was like a turning point for anyone in their career with something like that. He was world champion at the time.”
Speaking of world champions, the gals hold an international title of their own. They hold the most record chart entries of any all female group ever! In your face, Go-Gos! For more information on how to donate to Hard Rock’s PINKTOBER campaign, check out their site here. Rock on!
[Photo: Hard Rock]