Melbourne’s Pseudo Echo were the support act for US popstar Belinda Carlisle, at Eatons Hill Hotel (5 March), and if their job was to warm up the crowd, they all deserve gold stars.
While lead singer, Brian Canham, was almost unrecognisable behind his hipster beard, the presence on stage of a red keystar almost identical to the one played in the ‘Funky Town’ video clip brought my memories of the 1980s screaming back.
Psuedo Echo treated us to ‘Ultraviolet’, the title track off their 2014 album, before launching into their back catalogue of hits. ‘Don’t Go’ was first up followed by the superb 'A Beat For You’. ‘Living In A Dream’ preceded an admirable cover of Real Life’s ‘Send Me An Angel’, followed by ‘Listening’ and ‘Love An Adventure’.
Their high-energy set culminated appropriately with their number one hit, ‘Funky Town’.
After a very brief interlude, Belinda Carlisle took to the stage. Dressed simply in a long-sleeved black blouse, long, black pants and barefoot, Belinda (now 57) seems to have defied time.
Without fuss or preamble she launched into the title track of her 1989 album, ‘Runaway Horses’, and the ballroom vibrated with her signature vocal quaver. ‘(We Want) The Same Thing’ from the same album was next before Belinda dove into her 1980s material with ‘I Get Weak’.
The ballads continued with ‘In Too Deep’, ‘Circle In the Sand’, ‘Vision Of You’ and ‘La Luna’, with the latter signalling the start of the crowd rousing hits. ‘Summer Rain’, easily one of Belinda’s most enduring hits, was met with enthusiastic arm waving and singing from the crowd as Belinda twirled daintily around the stage.
‘Mad About You’, Belinda’s first solo single, followed before she introduced ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’, a hit song from her time with all-female rock band, The Go-Go’s. ‘We Got The Beat’, ‘Leave A Light On’ and ‘Live Your Life Be Free’ maintained the upbeat tempo and crowd rapport before Belinda took her bow and exited the stage.
Returning for her encore, Belinda sung ‘Valentine’ followed by ‘Big Scary Animal’ from her 1993 album 'Real'.
And then, with one solitary beat of the drum, the song I think we had all been waiting for - ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’ - began, and the seated crowd in front of the stage finally rose to their feet. Belinda’s final song of the evening was a cover of The Carpenters’, ‘Superstar’.