Bucks Fizz / Brotherhood Of Man – Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, Thursday June 28th
What Bucks Fizz were to the 1980s – a clean-cut, middle of the road, two-boy/two-girl vocal group, whose greatest claim to fame was winning Eurovision – Brotherhood Of Man were to the 1970s. Since their hit-making days, both acts have doggedly continued to plough the cabaret circuit, with a particular focus on seaside resorts and holiday camps.
While Bucks Fizz have undergone numerous personnel changes, with two rival versions of the group even clashing in court, Brotherhood Of Man have retained the same line-up for over thirty years. It takes a special kind of dedication to play the same old hits, year after year, in notably reduced circumstances, without becoming bored or bitter – and even in last night’s three-quarters empty venue, those smiles never cracked for a second.
Featuring just one original member, the eternally chipper Bobby G, the current Bucks Fizz line-up were an oddly matched bunch, who could only offer pale imitations of former glories. No Cheryl, no Mike, no Jay? You could almost feel the disappointment rippling through the audience as the group took to the stage.
“You say you don’t know me, or recognize my face”, they trilled, gamely hoofing their way through Starship’s We Built This City. Never were truer words uttered.
“We love you, Bobby!”, screamed a tipsy hen party. “It is Bobby, isn’t it?” they added, promptly collapsing in hysterics.
Performing to backing tracks, with a minimum of stage props, both acts padded out their allocated hours with numerous covers. Bucks Fizz opted for medleys by Ricky Martin, Abba and Meat Loaf, while Brotherhood Of Man plumbed the very depths of Seventies cheese: Tie A Yellow Ribbon, Shang-A-Lang, Remember You’re A Womble, My Ding-A-Ling. Such bargain basement shortcuts might have wowed the campers at Butlins, but they fell far short of the standard expected in the Royal Concert Hall.