Produced by Trevor Horn, Wembley Arena, London

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Many believe Trevor Horn is the finest producer to come from these shores, but his most influential period was 20 years ago and there was a danger this event might become just another Eighties revival gig with a succession of has-beens singing their one or two hits in front of an anonymous group.

Many believe Trevor Horn is the finest producer to come from these shores, but his most influential period was 20 years ago and there was a danger this event might become just another Eighties revival gig with a succession of has-beens singing their one or two hits in front of an anonymous group.

But the house band here included members of the rock giants Yes, and the attention to detail put this gig in a different league. Wembley's vast stage was packed with instruments as brass, strings and backing singers lined up. Later on, Horn betrayed his obsessive personality by explaining why he needed two bass players on stage.

Such enthusiasm, though, allowed the crowd to warm to their softly-spoken master of ceremonies and first front-man. Horn came to fame in red plastic specs in Buggles, whose "Video Killed The Radio Star", we were reminded, was the first song played on MTV. It still struck a plaintive chord, though as he stood rigid with his bass, you could see Horn made the right career move.

A bewildering array of talent followed in rapid succession. One of the Eighties' great lost bands, Propaganda, re-formed for the occasion, delivered only an urgent "Dr Mabuse". Grace Jones sashayed across the stage in flowing cape and Batwoman costume, but only to perform "Slave to the Rhythm". In a gross injustice, Dollar, the duo with the infamous burger-van owner David Van Day, got to do two numbers, despite sounding more holiday-camp act than perfect pop.

What connected these acts were albums or singles on which Horn had left as much of an imprint as the artists, so we were spared anything from his lacklustre Nineties period, when Horn was jobbing for Tina Turner and Tom Jones. More recently, Horn has reasserted himself. The indie kids Belle and Sebastian, now refashioned as a sharp pop band, returned the favour with a lively "I'm a Cuckoo", powered by a propulsive brass section.

Despite being provided with sure-fire hits, most artists only recorded one album with Horn. A backhanded compliment from Martin Fry, of ABC, suggested they could not stand his overbearing attitude - and his being right all the time. Only one artist has stayed the course, and Seal showed why with a puppy-like eagerness to energise the crowd (though, between songs, a startling timidity for such an imposing physical presence).

ABC came away with the most enhanced reputation. Lexicon of Love was a key album, where Horn defined an era's sound not just with his pioneering use of the sampler, but in his audacious vision. "Poison Arrow" and "Look of Love" depended just as much on Horn's long-term collaborator Ann Dudley's orchestral arrangements. With an impressive big band behind them, Fry's band could swagger with conviction.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood's return fell somewhat flat. Once banned by Radio 1 for its depravity, "Relax" was now a party anthem fit for Prince Charles, in attendance as the gig was to support his eponymous trust. But the star of the Jerry Springer musical, Ross Maloney, gave a Stars in Their Eyes impression of Holly Johnson. Not even a particularly effervescent Paul Rutherford could fill that hole. Horn changed the sound of British pop, but you still need charisma to make it work live.

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