Pop: Sweet dreams (are made of this)
Saturday 20 November 1999
THE EURYTHMICS were everywhere in the air in the Eighties, like wild yeasts and flakes of dead skin. Though few people probably even noticed that they'd split up, such has been their enduring ubiquity on local radio, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart are back together promoting their first album in nearly a decade, the overproduced Peace.
It's an odd record, something of a fight between Stewart's obsession with recreating the work of the Rolling Stones and The Beatles - the track "Forever" makes Oasis sound solidly original - and Lennox's talent for the dramatic ballad. Even now she shows up the likes of Celine Dion for the shouters they really are.
Few Eighties hit-makers can get away with charging pounds 35 a pop for a revival show at this huge horrible barn. The best most of that benighted decade's stars can expect these days is a slot on a Christmas office-outing. Annie and Dave are above such things, presumably not needing the money - profits from the "peacetour" are for Greenpeace and Amnesty International. But face it, they're still a pair of fortysomethings, performing to an audience little younger, and peddling music from a distant era.
Reassuringly, Annie never changes, vocally she is as spot-on as ever and is doubtless fated to live out her days as Scotland's answer to Marlene Dietrich. Her partner Dave, gleefully deconstructing his own songs on an endless succession of guitars, still sports the millionaire's hairstyle which would see him laughed out of any trendy Hoxton bar. Not that he gives a damn.
So many of the audience - estate agents, junior estate agents, their parents but not their kids - are in their coats that it looks like the next winter catalogue in here. But to the Eurythmics' credit, this solid greatest-hits show soon warms them up.
For some reason, the ever-horrid "Thorn In My Side" gets everyone out of their seats, but more interesting is the loose version of "Who's That Girl", the exact antithesis of the metronomic original. An "unplugged" has no audible musical effect except to allow the 10 people on stage to get to know each other better around the piano, while new songs, like the Bryan Adamesque "17 Again" which actually stoops to quoting from their own "Sweet Dreams", are no classics.
But it's a slick show for all that. In fact, it's like they never went away, but don't necessarily take that as a recommendation.
Birmingham, Sun; Manchester, Fri; Glasgow, 29 Nov; Wembley Arena, 3 Dec; London Arena, 6 Dec. A version of this review appeared in later editions of yesterday's paper
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