Frankie goes to… Birmingham
And so, a year on, Frankie take to the British stage for their first tour. Thus, it is now the time for the Liverpool big mouths to try and prove that they really are a pop group and not just a highly profitable glint in some producer or hype master’s eye.
Will the British public take them to their hearts? Will they make enough money to keep them in expensive suits? Will Holly’s swelling head (bless him) allow the others to fit on stage? In short, can Frankie make it, and do we really care?
Answer: yes on all counts. Music wise —
The powers pushing Frankie took the music biz ways, pumped them up, exaggerated them to a higher form and sold product in excessive amounts —
But, for the moment, Frankie still rule the world, with the latest single crashing straight into the top five and providing a much needed kick up the jacksie to the ‘nice ’n’ easy complacency of a chart that can put Babs and Elaine at number one.
Frankie have a new found respectability, and it’s now hunky Mark O’Toole who’s a sex symbol. Those eyes! That soft, down-like hair clinging to that handsome boy scout face! That laddish behaviour! What hot blooded heterosexual female could fail to fall?
In Frankie’s latest guise of glamour and good looks for the screaming girls, he fits the bill perfectly. So, in image at least, Frankie have become Spandau Ballet —
The first thing you notice is the audience. Young, predominantly female; don’t dance, just shout. Actually, they scream… very loudly when Mark reveals his chest. How they could scream louder for that than when Paul Rutherford wiggles that fine, manly bottom of his I’ve no idea, but louder they do. Some people have no sense of aesthetics.
Frankie think the world of themselves. Tonight, it’s not the usual ‘thanks Birmingham, you were wonderful’ of most performers, but a resounding ‘Thank us Birmingham, WE’RE wonderful’.
And they are.
Two screens carry highly pretentious visuals, oozing with phallic symbols —
The human part of the performance is just as strong. ‘War’ starts in first gear as the five figures emerge from the mist. Holly is static, posing, contorting his face —
Paul Rutherford is as mobile as Holly is not. He brings the real style to FGTH —
Mark O’Toole grins (he really does look like a muppet you know) and he and Gnasher run about like real rock stars. Ped drums a bit. ‘The Power Of Love’ shows Holly’s voice off to its fullest —
’Relax’ is introduced as “what you all came here for” and is accompanied by much groin moving glee and images of real bums with no clothes on and legs splayed on the screen. They’re pretty wild these Frankie boys.
When Holly does his ‘Romans In Britain’ act on Mark O’Toole it is with the sweetest grin on his face. With dimples, fluffy topped head, Bazooka Joe cap and what looks like a white romper suit, he ends up bouncing about like a rampant, sex-crazed baby. Lots of screams, two encores —
Frankie present such a mix of an image. Clean boys, healthy, smiling, arrogant —