Retrolicious or Retrodiculous?

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Class 95FM held the retro concert of the year at Fort Canning Hill on 9 Oct 2010. Titled ‘Retrolicious’, the birthday bash featured definitive 80s stars Johnny Hates Jazz, Debbie Gibson and Rick Astley. I didn’t know about the concert until a friend told me. And I wasn’t interested in it until he mentioned Debbie Gibson as one of the performers. DEBBIE GIBSON! I’m a HHHUUUUGGGEEEEE fan. I bought the ticket right away.

Organised by Running Into the Sun, the event organisation arm of Fly Entertainment, the concert sold more than 6,000 tickets and it was the biggest show for Class 95FM. But the concert was a let-down for me. Here are 5 reasons why :

1. We had to queue for an hour to get in. We arrived at 7:30pm and was shocked to find a ridiculously long queue snaking up and down the carpark. Felt like World Expo 2010 all over again.

2. We had to queue 45 minutes and an hour on the 2 occasions we bought beer. Me and my friends spent most of our time in the queue to get drinks. For almost the entire Debbie Gibson segment, I was stuck in the queue. It’s ridiculous.

3. Johnny Hates Jazz sang too many new songs. It’s Retrolicious, not new album launch! Geez… We came here to hear songs we are familiar with, not new material that will be fighting for ear space in the download market.

4. It took them such a long time to prepare the stage in between each performer. The staging was simple and there was zero special effects, so why the long set-up? I know it’s an 80s concert, but I didn’t know they were moving at that pace too. Ridiculous.

5. Debbie Gibson sounded like an asthmatic Minnie Mouse on helium. I was crest-fallen. She is my idol and the only reason I came for the concert. Plus, this was the first time I saw her ‘live’. I was so utterly disappointed.

The saving grace was the set by Rick Astley. He sounded like his record and his humour and stage antics were very endearing. But alas, even he could not savage this sinker of a concert. At S$98.00 a tic, Retrolicious was an entertainment scrooge.

I wrote in to Class 95FM, Debbie Gibson and Running Into the Sun to request for a backstage opportunity to meet Debbie during the concert, just for a few seconds to shake her hand and take a photo with her. The 2 very first CDs I got when my aunt gave me my first hi-fi system in 1989 was Debbie’s Out of the Blue and Electric Youth albums. It could almost be said that she inducted me into the world of pop music. Prior to that, I would just listen to whatever channel my grandmother set the Rediffusion to.

Except for Wendy from Running into the Sun who replied me with leads to participate in contests to win a chance for a meet and greet session with Debbie, I didn’t get a single response from Class 95FM or Debbie Gibson. And that’s to think I emailed all 3 contacts listed on the Class 95FM website. Not even a single reply.

Anyhoo, I still love Debbie for her immense talent. She’s the youngest artist ever to write, produce and perform a no. 1 hit on Billboard Hot 100. I’ve got all her albums, remix CDs and even vinyl records although I don’t own a turntable. I would save up my pocket money just so I can go to Valentine’s Records at Selegie to buy anything new from and about her.

I played her songs on repeat loop for days and memorised her Electric Youth dance routine. Those pre-Youtube days, I sat by the MTV channel for hours to record her videos and had to press rewind and play countless times to learn the steps. I even had 2 huge posters of her stuck on my wall and would painstakingly cut-out and collect any magazine cover and news article about her. I have such devotion for Debbie Gibson.

Ah, those were the days…

Here’s a clip of the concert and of the 3 performers. This clip marks the first time I’ve ever tried creating a video entirely on my own! So please pardon the less than Spielberg quality. Hope the songs bring back warm memories for the 80-ers and intro these gems to the Lady Gaga and Katy Perry generation 😀

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Steven
    Jul 25, 2011 @ 23:44:28

    Hi! I was also at the back stage with her. Where are the pictures that the official photographer took?
    Can you direct me?


    • Darren Ng
      Jul 27, 2011 @ 14:07:31

      wow… lucky you! get to meet her personally backstage. i didn’t get to meet her and i have no idea about the official photographer too. i’m not working with the events company who brought in the act.


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