On the scene: Yaz reunion concert in London

Yaz_lIf you’re as big an ’80s pop fan as I am, you know Yaz. And you love them. Since I happened to be in London this week on "holiday" (as the locals say), I made sure to get my arse to the Hammersmith Apollo theater to catch the seminal British duo’s "Reconnected Tour," marking their first live appearances since disbanding in 1983.

And oh my God, but for one hour and 20 minutes last night, I was back in junior high… just without all the painful tweenybopper awkwardness. When force-of-nature vocalist Alison Moyet (pictured) took the stage and sang the first line of "Nobody’s Diary" ("If I wait for just a second more…"), the 25-year lag time since the single’s release simply disappeared. Moyet and keyboardist/programmer Vince Clarke (now the mastermind behind another classic Britpop duo, Erasure), performed 21 tunes in all, to the intense delight of the largely gay audience (this was one of those rare events where the men’s room line was longer than the women’s). The staging was stark — Moyet and Clarke, both in all black, stood on a bare stage save for two video screens showing images from their old videos or graphics reminiscent of Space Invaders. But the visual minimalism only centered the attention on Clarke’s brilliant songs: "Mr. Blue," "Bad Connection," and what Moyet called "one of my favorites," "Ode to Boy." (Incidentally, they performed one tune called "Tuesday" which I had never heard. Any fans out there know anything about it? Was it a B-side or something?)

addCredit(“Yaz: Awais Butt/LFI”)

The biggest roars from the crowd came for two of Yazoo’s (as they’reknown in the UK) most massive hits: "Situation" and "Don’t Go." Afterfinishing "Situation," Moyet walked over to the famously stone-facedClarke (the pair hadn’t spoken for years when they reunited recently)and hugged him, leading to a bona fide smile from Clarke. But exceptfor the occasional backup vocal, Clarke was virtually silent for thewhole show while Moyet, who seemed truly moved by the response,addressed the crowd periodically. At one point, while introducing "WalkAway from Love," Moyet said, "Here’s a song we’ve only recently addedto the set. Haven’t we?" Clarke responded, "Yes," and the audience wentnuts.

As would be predicted, the evening ended with Yaz’s debut single,"Only You," which was released in 1982 and has in recent years poppedup in Napoleon Dynamite and the British version of The Office."This song has been very kind to Vince Clarke," Moyet deadpanned."Bastard!" After singing her last line, she stood center stage withClarke and said, "Thank you so much for coming. We are Yazoo!" And weare all the better for it.

(Alison and Vince are headed to the U.S. next month. Go to yazooinfo.com for details.)

Comments (21 total) Add your comment
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  • Stephanie T.

    I don’t think that that Vince Clarke has been given the recognition he rightly deserves. Sure Depeche Mode’s Speak and Spell was a disaster of an album, but the rest of his songs, especially Don’t Go, and Situation have been dance floor staples. He was one of those many composers who managed to fuse Synthpop with dance music.

  • AA

    Oh Dave Karger, thank you sooooooo much for a Yazoo review!!! I am completely jealous.

  • Gustavo

    The brilliant “Tuesday” was part of the UK release of “Upstairs at Eric´s” and was replaced by “Situation” in the american release ( Situation was originallt a B-Side )

  • Sean

    How great that they’re doing “Walk Away from Love” — that was my introduction to Yaz at the local teen disco.
    And can I just say that the thought of Dave Karger’s painful tweenybopper awkwardness has me grinning from ear to ear? *swoon*

  • Andi

    Such an 8th grade flashback, but who doesn’t secretly still love Yaz?

  • Al Fredo

    Man; how many times did my sister play Upstairs at Erics growing up? Now I’ve got the melody from Don’t Go swirling in my head.

  • Melanie J

    Thanks for the review. It totally made my day. Too bad there’s no date for Atlanta.

  • Snarf

    “Tuesday” is a new single – not sure if they’re releasing a best of or a CD of new works

  • Tim

    Can’t wait for the LA show in July! Got my tix!!!!!

  • Alan

    Oh Alison, why did you disappear from our lives all these years? We’ve missed you and your astounding voice! Welcome back!

  • Jonathan Vaux

    I was at the same concert (one of the few straight men in the crowd I think)nad have to agree. What a fantastic gig – it’s rare to feel a crowd so behind the band and willing to see them succeed. Also great to see Alf and Vince respond so positively – you didn’t mention it was her birthday and the crowd even sang for her! Winter Kills was spine tingling – can it really have been over 25 years?????

  • Grlafraid

    I got my NYC tix as soon as they were available. I listen to them all the time-never stopped! I can’t wait…

  • actingup

    How fantastic!!!!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE Yaz. (And Erasure! “The Innocents” is the CD in my car right now) Allison Moyet’s voice was amazing and so unusual – I am so happy she still sounds great. Vince Clark is a musical genius and has never gotten the respect he deserves. Yaz was such a short lived pairing but so amazing. And Erasure is remarkable – one of the best pop bands ever (how about Andy Bell’s voice? Wow). That is my kind of music!

  • keiren63

    Alison’s solo LP was one of my absolute most favourite albums of the ’80s–the only problem is that it is almost impossible to listen to now with the incredibly soul-less drum machine!! I wish there were a way to take it out…but I’m glad she’s back.

  • Chris

    I just want to thank Alison and Vince for a great night! What an excellent show!

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