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Frankie comes to Sunrise

Frankie came to Sunrise Musical Theatre for one sold-out show Wednesday night, and was greeted by an incredibly over-excited crowd that was sold on this controversial British pop/rock band well in advance of the show.

Even before opening act Belouis Some pranced out on stage, the crowd had jam-packed the aisles and were climbing over the front-row seats and each other to get closer to the stage.

By the time Frankie Goes to Hollywood took the stage, the crowd had formed a wall six rows thick. Frankie, formed of lead singers Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford, guitarist Brian Nash, bassist Mark OToole, drummer Peter Gill (and back-up guitarist Gerard OToole and keyboardist Peter Oxendale) responded with a wall of their own, a solid shield of churning, heart-catching rhythm.

Frankie didnt say Relax (the title of its first hit single from the debut double LP, Welcome to the Pleasuredome) until near the end of the 1½-hour set. But by then it was too late — the fans were literally falling head over heels, swept up in the beat and the hype.

And hype is the key word where Frankie is concerned. Though the band presented a musically tight, rocking act that dispelled rumors about Frankie being the creation of its producer and publicist, besides near-exact renditions of its hit singles (Relax, which the band performed twice, Welcome to the Pleasuredome and The Power of Love, there wasnt much special or new about the show.

Frankie is, most of all, a happening, a reason for fans to dress in loose untucked shirts, knee length jackets and dark sunglasses.

While Boy George introduced the androgynous look to pop culture last year. Frankie Goes To Hollywood has shunned such overt frivolity in favor of subtle — if questionable — sexuality.

But unlike their first mini-tour of the U.S. in late 1984, Frankie was hardly outrageous this time around — though Johnson did toss in a few compulsory hip grinds, while standing behind the guitarist, and jerked his hand suggestively during Relax.

Those who managed to make it to one of the coveted viewpoints on a chair back in front of the auditorium probably had a grand time. But the less agressive among the crowd had to settle for catching an occasional glimpse of Johnsons short-haired head.

If this is what oversell and hype does for a group, Id like to coin a Frankie phrase and say, “Relax… dont do it.”

New dance rock recording artist Belouis Some and his eight-piece band tossed a bone to the ravenous crowd with their heavy-hitting, funk rhythms. But the hungry masses soon lost their taste for Some, chanting “Frankie, Frankie!” until his half-hour set was over.