People were already disco-dancing at the Concorde 2 before Shalamar even came on.

It wasn’t clear whether they were simply an easy-to-please crowd (the kind who just can’t make their feet behave once they hear a bit of George Benson) or if they were so excited they just couldn’t hide it.  Regardless, hands were waved in the air like no one cared in the bar, by the toilets and the die-hard fans were getting down to the disco at the front of the stage.
An interesting bunch, they were largely made up of middle-aged girl gangs in suede boots and kitten heels, with the odd misplaced husband lurking in the background.  But there was also the strange sprinkling of lads in checked shirts (who’d look more at home on T4 On The Beach, than a revival of an 80s band), a funk-loving-punk, a guy in a 70s wig ( inward shake of head) and groups of wide-eyed teens (I didn’t check to see if they were waiting for their parents to come out of the loo).
Everyone was having so much fun, they hardly noticed when Shalamar’s drummer came onstage.  Which is why it was a good thing that the band wasted wasted no time in busting out the songs we all came to see.

Kicking off with the high energy, Make That Move, which quickly moved into feel-good track, Friends it was clear that Shalamar have still got it; strong vocals, bags of charisma and dance moves that were as slinky as a pair of nylon trousers.
They may not the original trio, but newcomer (well, as of 12 years ago) Carolyn Griffey certainly filled the dancing shoes of previous band member, Jody Watley.  The dynamic between her and Jeffrey Daniel was amazing; they were like disco-twins who were totally in sync.  Unfortunately, their pally-ness often seemed to leave third member, Howard Hewett a bit out in the cold.  As much as he tried to be in the gang, it felt like he just wasn’t cool enough.

Formerly, the lead singer of Shalamar, Hewett didn’t seem to be able to command attention as he might’ve once done.  He seemed to struggle with the vocals on I Owe You One, and things ran into a bit of difficulty when he tried attempted to slow things down for the laydeez.  The crowd weren’t there for ballads, dammit, they were hyped up like kids at a birthday party and wanted to stuff their face with disco.
Regardless, Hewett took a seat and proceeded to try and talk to an audience who’d already gone to the bar or who’d decided they were taking selfies for the next three-and-a-half-minutes.

It was clear the real star was Jeffrey Daniel.  Originally a Soul Train dancer, Daniel joined the band in the late 70s.  It’s also worth noting that this guy moonwalked a year BEFORE Michael Jackson was seen doing it…#justsaying.  But Daniel proved he’s more than just a dab-hand on the dancefloor (which he totally is) with his spot-on falsetto and cheeky rap interludes.  And his funky mime routine in Lost Without You was a mesmerizing as a snake charmer.

Alongside all the old favourites, Shalamar also performed their new single, Don’t Go, largely sung by Griffey.  From the start it could’ve been anything by JLo or Enrique Iglesias with it’s early 2000 Spanish guitar sound going on, and fierce dance break in the middle which saw Griffey let loose with the backing singers.

After coming back to do an encore of the classic Night to Remember Shalamar made us feel ALIVE and left us with the lingering nostalgia of feel good disco.  Which tastes a bit like bubblegum.

The odd technical hitch was forgiven (as were the slightly less fun ballads), as Shalamar made us remember the reason we fell in love with them in the first place; the funky soul hits that had the whole of the packed venue dancing.

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