ABC – In Concert From Hamburg – 1983 – Past Daily Soundbooth
ABC to end the week. As long as we were on something of a roll last night with Prefab Sprout, I thought I would toss another prime example of the 80s from a band who paved their own suave journey into the hearts and on to the dance floors of the world.
ABC formed in 1980 and aligned themselves with the New Romantic movement and had sailed quickly up the charts with their debut singles. When their debut album, The Lexicon Of Love was released, the New Romantic trappings fell by the wayside and what emerged was a tight unit of musicians, fronted by a dynamic singer (Martin Fry) who were branching into a more electronica direction, incorporating Sopisti-Pop as well well as Synth-Pop to the mix.
The results were a smashing success, with ABC racking up a top ten album from Lexicon and a string of top-ten singles, not only in the UK but also the US and throughout the world. They continued this run until Fry’s diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma prompted the band to go on hiatus until Fry was well enough to resume in 1987 when they worked on and released Alphabet City later on that year.
The band continued primarily as a duo with Fry and Mark who was also a co-founder until 1991 when a second hiatus took place. After a six year lay-off, ABC reconvened, but this time with only Martin Fry remaining.
This concert catches the band at their peak – recorded on February 2, 1983 by North German Radio at the famed Musikhalle in Hamburg, a venue used primarily for Classical Music concerts. They are joined by an extensive horn section along with strings. It’s a dramatic showcase for a band riding a wave of popularity and proved just how influential they become in a short period of time.
ABC, along with Prefab Sprout and a number of other groups were pivotal bands in the rapidly evolving 80s music scene – it was a far cry from the days of Punk – the three-chord wonders were replaced by lush arrangements and pulsating rhythms – and there was Martin Fry’s trademark Gold Lamé suit completing the picture.
Crank it up and dive head first into 1983 for the next hour or so.