I last saw David Campbell celebrating the music of the 1980s in April. David and classic pop tunes proved to be a match made in heaven, but the somewhat stiff venue of Newcastle’s Civic Theatre didn’t quite gel. So I was thrilled to see the show again last weekend at the Central Coast’s favorite club, Mingara.
In many ways this was the same show I saw a few months ago. The core stories remained, the outfits were every bit as loud, and the set list had just a few tweaks. The ’80s music took centre stage, much to the chagrin of a few murmuring nannas in the audience. They were treated to “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” after intermission, and “Shout” at the conclusion, but David clearly had a vision for the night. As a child of the ’80s myself I lapped it up, even if I did feel a little sorry for those confused old ducks.
Spandau Ballet’s “True” is my favourite song of all time, and again David Campbell transported me back to the time I first heard it. His simple rendition gets to the heart of the classic ballad. The stripped back section, with covers of Yazoo’s “Only You” and Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” was another highlight. And David’s takes on “Goody Two Shoes” and “Come On Eileen” might even be better than the originals.
While I heard the same music as before, there was a more spontaneous feel to the evening that really suited these commercial pop songs. He told us how Mingara was always a favourite place to play, and he seemed to relish the chance to move away from the script. An impromptu question and answer session was a bit of fun, even if the wrinklies turned on him when they discovered young Leo Campbell was yet to meet his grandmother. The inevitable hecklers were treated with David’s trademark humour, and he blew kisses at the women who boogied with abandon at the front of the stage.
David apologised sincerely that he couldn’t meet us all after the show and sign autographs as he usually does, but he needed to be up at quarter past four for another Channel Nine morning show stint. A lesser performer might have cut the show short to hit the highway early, but not David. He performed a full length set that never felt rushed and an enthusiastic encore with the energy turned up to eleven. I certainly wasn’t awake to see the TV performance he gave Channel Nine viewers on Sunday morning, but the one he served up for the Central Coast the night before was flawless.
Image source: own photo