Live at the Marquee: Mick had crowd eating out of his hand

The Mancunian threw himself into every song, and his snake-hip moves definitely don’t fall under the ‘dad dancing’ category!
Live at the Marquee: Mick had crowd eating out of his hand

Simply Red. Pic: Ray Keogh

WE’VE had quite enough comparisons to the dire economic days of the mid-1980s in recent times, but sometimes a little nostalgia can be good for the soul.

The new Cold War, the threat of nuclear attack, and the return of high inflation have all brought the deprivations and worries of that decade back into focus.

But as Mick Hucknall belted out his 1985 classic ‘Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)’ in a jumping Marquee on Wednesday night, Generation X were singing along happily and remembering that it was often the music of the 80s that kept us all happy and sane.

Even so, as Mick and his band Simply Red launched into the song, a few of us must have had a wry smile on our faces…

So I went to the bank

To see what they could do

They said son - looks like bad luck

Gotta hold on you

The flame-haired songster and his band took to the stage at 9pm on a glorious summer’s evening on Leeside and had the fans enthralled for 80 minutes as smash hit after smash hit came rolling through the tent.

It was a bit of a false start, mind – ‘Look At You Now’ is hardly the show-stopper that will get a crowd on its feet — but when you have a back catalogue like Hucknall, the hard work is already done.

The jaunty ‘Do The Right Thing’ really kicked the crowd into first gear, and his later hits, ‘Stars’ and ‘Fairground’ hit the spot too — as well as being a reminder that Simply Red were one of the few British bands of the 80s that carried their success well into the 90s.

The odd ballad reined us in — ‘Holding Back The Years’ must have particularly struck a chord with the mainly middle-aged audience — but there was always another dance hit just around the corner, like ‘Something Got Me Started’ or ‘Come To My Aid’, to have fans dancing in the aisles again like it was 1989.

Hucknall doesn’t have great stage presence and banter in between songs — he remembered a very hot and sweaty night on his last visit to the Marquee, and said he was glad to be back on the road again post-Covid — but he was always about the music anyway, with that vocal style that seemed to come from deep down and the deep American south.

The Mancunian threw himself into every song, and his snake-hip moves definitely don’t fall under the ‘dad dancing’ category!

There were snatches of reggae and blues in there, but it was mainly the catchy, happy pop of our youth that kept us entertained.

Hucknall finished off with one of his few hits not written by himself — ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ was originally recorded by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes — and by then the audience were eating out of his hand.

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