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Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 14, 2014    
 
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80s Rewind Festival 2013 - Temple Island Meadows,  Henley-upon-Thames (UK) - 16th, 17th & 18th August 2013

As much as rock is my entire life now, I do have a penchant for the odd bit of 80s cheese and Rewind Festival has a fantastic hit of this, along with a smidgen of rock which made it a definite 'must do' for me this year.

Along with the likes of Chesney Hawkes, Aswad, Billy Ocean and The Pointer Sisters, there were some stunningly awesome performances from the B52's, ex Journey front man Steve Augeri, Paul Carrack, Cutting Crew, Go West and The Orchestra, but more of that later. It's a bit of an odd setup – each band, bar the headliners, only does a few songs – only the hits, but this makes for an entire weekend of singing along as everyone knows every song.

My first highlight of the weekend was definitely the bearded Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. With his hits 'Come Up And See Me (Make Me Smile)', 'Here Comes The Sun' and 'Judy Teen', it took me back 30 years to the first time I ever saw him, strangely, only a few miles from here at Reading Festival. Great songs and a stellar performance. Surprise of the day came from Nik Kershaw. Wow, that man can play a guitar and I never knew he would be quite so 'rock', although he has written and produced for many. Main reason for being there on the Saturday though was of course Steve Augeri. He was using the house band on this occasion instead of the Valentine guys, but nevertheless fabulous musicians who more than nailed 'Separate Ways' and 'Don't Stop Believin''. Steve was in fine voice and, in his now signature white suit, the crowd loved him. Honourable mention must go to Then Jericho who were amazing. I had forgotten just how good they were, but shall be revisiting their back catalogue for sure.

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Sunday's line-up included Paul Carrack – one of the greatest voices to come out of the UK and an amazing songwriter. He did a mix of solo, Mike & The Mechanics, Squeeze and Ace hits with 'Tempted' and 'How Long' being two of my favourite songs of all time. Great to see him from so close to the stage and with such a fabulous band. Next on my list was Cutting Crew – another AOR fan favourite. They played 'One For The Mocking Bird', 'Been In Love Before' and the classic '(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight'. I have never seen the band before and had no idea what a charismatic front man Nick Van Ede is and his fellow Canadian and founding member Kevin Scott MacMichael still rock it. I had been waiting all weekend to see my personal favourites for this festival – Go West - and they lived up to my expectations once again. Peter Cox still has one of the most distinctive and soulful voices I've ever heard and they were obviously crowd favourites too, which is why they seem to be booked for Rewind every year. Can't quite understand why, when they have so many hits and great songs that they chose to do a cover of Kings Of Leon's 'Sex On Fire' though – that was a bit of a strange choice. Still, they were brilliant. The Orchestra, featuring Mik Kaminski and Louis Clark from ELO and several members of ELO II are now fronted by the superbly talented Glen Burtnik and Parthenon Huxley, (also a member of ELO II since 1998). They rattled through so many ELO hits – 'Ma Ma Ma Belle', 'Livin' Thing', 'Don't Bring Me Down', 'Sweet Talkin' Woman', 'Telephone Line', 'Evil Woman' and of course, finishing their set with 'Mr Blue Sky' – guaranteed to have everyone dancing.

It was nice to bump into a few Firefesters over the weekend too, including one lady who was on the barrier the whole day. I first noticed her because she was wearing an amazing rain jacket, covered in small printed singles. Then, I noticed her t shirt – Jeff Scott Soto! Her husband was wearing a Steve Perry shirt, so I guess they were there for Steve Augeri, but they seemed to be having an absolute ball.

A completely amazing and bizarre experience from start to finish – people in fancy dress, retro food and clothes, a giant inflatable church complete with camp overacting vicar and a plethora of stalls and vintage exhibitions, this is a festival I will hopefully return to on an annual basis.....although £9 for a burger was a little on the steep side! (EEEEK!)

Sue Ashcroft

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