Listen: Here’s to future twins – a past autumn play at Western Springs.

At the weekend, as I stuttered past a fast filling stadium, aka Western Springs, upon Auckland’s public transport finest, I reminisced about the many acts that I had attended at this part time outdoor venue. U2, REM, Mc Cartney and more fill the faded lines of a well-worn and often mislaid notebook, but one great gig that had me toe tapping all the way to Albert Street.

Thirty years ago, 1986 to be exact, a British pop group with real Kiwi connections, in the form of local lass Allanah Currie, sat proud in our top 5 album charts with the platinum platter, ‘Here’s to Future Days’.
The Thompson Twins were (and still kind of are – having recently hit the road again), an 80’s hit machine. Taking their name from those famous Tin Tin comics and made up a cool collage of sound, the Twins blended a mixed bag of sound splices, everything from Caribbean percussion to soft, sultry strings with irresistibly catchy choruses.

Back in 1986, after a previously rained off attempt at an Auckland outdoor show two weeks earlier, the Twins were set to mop up the soggy stage to an extremely eager local crowd. I was a pimply pop fan of 15, with badges and white Reeboks, all set to kick off my stadium pop experience.  

By today’s standards the vast green field was laid quite sparse with just proud of 12,000 stone washed diehard fans, here to pop their 80’s cherries. These were the days of deck chairs and blankets, picnics at the pop concert. One of the things I recall as a super surprised pubescent fan boy was the pre-show cut up session from third member Joe Leeway. Often recognized for his high falsetto backing vocals, Leeway lead a 60 minute mash up of dub, funk and cinematic club tunes that pre-dated the superstar DJ by about a decade.
The ultra-clever Tom Bailey delivered a signature performance, with shout outs, re-rubs and raucous renditions of all their hits and I loved the fragrant odour of cabbage, chips and cheap cologne.

Live concerts and the outdoor up, close (as you can get) and personal is a timeless treat that I will long continue to enjoy. I keep the ticket butts, buy the badges and tee shirts and spend café time recalling the concerts from days gone by. Living in Point Chevalier I could hear the heaving heartbeat of Western Springs on Saturday as a whole new generation pushed the fences at the first Auckland City Limits music festival. And so the experience continues. Here’s to future days!

Curious for some nostalgic niceness? Then check out the  Thompson TwinsAlso try Tom Bailey’s side project International Observer for a variation on his original sounds.

Dave Tucker  

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