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Ian Waller enjoys a night of orchestral nostalgia, with a touch of gold lame for good measure…

For people of a certain age, The Forum Bath was the place to be last night as ABC came to town to play their classic album, The Lexicon of Love, complete with a full orchestra.

The Lexicon of Love was one of those unmissable albums to come out of the preening pop and new romantic talent of 1980s Britain, full to bursting with elegant and full bodied string arrangements combined with truly funksome bass riffs and of course the vocal talents of lead man Mr Martin Fry.

Songs from the album such as Poison Arrow and The Look of Love are 80s radio gold, so the chance to hear them again, live, complete with the full-on awesomeness of the Southbank Sinfonia was way too much to miss.

And from the start – an orchestral teaser to the album’s opening bar – this was a cracking night in a wonderful venue with plenty of 50 somethings loving the chance to reclaim their youth. While the first half focused on ABC’s other catalogue of songs, it was a wonderful way to show how the new look ABC melded so stylishly with the strings, brass and percussion of a top class orchestra.

And as for Mr Fry, sharp suit, coiffured hair and the looks of an older man who knows how to look after himself, he was as good as all of those years ago, his rich voice generally hitting the notes and where it creaked a little, the backing vocalists were there to fill in the holes.

Apparently it’s 40 odd years ago when The Lexicon of Love came out and yet while I was no doubt surrounded by a sell out crowd that sometimes forgets their own children’s birthdays, they all seemed to remember every word of every song. It really was a thrill to hear live the sweeping strings at the beginning of the first track, Show Me, leaving space for that most distinctive of bass riffs, and then we were off.

Playing each track in order, Martin and the band were in great form and the audience was loving it. You can’t help but wonder that with an album this old, and indeed this orchestral show now having been on the road for 15 years playing it note for note, evening after evening, how it doesn’t get a bit stale for the performers. I’m glad to say, there was no sign of this, with the performances across the stage full of poise and professionalism, with a good few smiles too.

For details of more shows and concerts coming to The Forum Bath, go to