Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Graham Clark
Music Features Writer
6:40 PM 24th June 2024

Back To The 80’s: Let’s Rock, Leeds

Photo: Graham Clark
Photo: Graham Clark
For many, the 1980’s was one of the best decades for music, though the fashions of the period—bright day glo colours, ra-ra skirts, leg warmers, and big hair styles—might not have worn as well as the music.

That, however, did not stop many of the 11,000 strong audience members from digging out from their wardrobes some of their eighties outfits to wear at the annual Let’s Rock event at Temple Newsam Park, set on the outskirts of Leeds. The event draws together some of the best acts of the period, which this year took place under a clear blue summer sky, unlike last year, when the weather was far more unfavourable.

Jason Donovan has since found a successful career in stage musicals, though who can forget those classic Stock, Aitken, and Waterman songs such as Too Many Broken Hearts and Nothing Can Divide Us? Thankfully, the Temple Newsam audience remembered them well, as they joined in singing along loudly.

Go West impressed with a short set that surprisingly included a cover version of Duran Duran’s Hungry Like the Wolf. Peter Cox lent his soulful vocals to Tracks of My Tears, though it was King of Wishful Thinking that received the best response. Why Go West is still not on the charts remains a mystery after this commanding performance.

The Jam typically includes Bruce Foxton in their lineup. With original Jam member Foxton unfortunately on sick leave, the band performed with a replacement bass player. If you closed your eyes, you could have been listening to the original band. After a somewhat slowed-down version of Town Called Malice, From the Jam eventually found their groove, boosting their credentials with supreme renditions of That's Entertainment and Going Underground.

Peter Hook and the Light might have looked out of place on the event line-up; Hook was formerly a member of New Order and Joy Division, whose musical output was darker and more industrial than the other acts on the bill. Hook and his band, however, delivered a tight set that included New Order classics such as Blue Monday and Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart. That was one of the best performances of the day, where there was no disorder but only conformity in profusion and presentation.

Level 42 is led by the bass player playing supremo. Mark King arrived on stage wearing bright Hawaiian shirts that seemed to match a colourful set that naturally included Lessons in Love and Running in the Family. A jazzy version of Children Say kept the original fans pleased before the band took the audience back to the beginning of their career with Hot Water.

Confusingly, there are now two versions of UB40, one featuring Robin Campbell along with other original members of the band and the other featuring his brother Ali Campbell, again an original member of the group. The latter version of UB40, featuring Ali Campbell and enthralled the audience in Leeds with songs like King, If It Happens Again, and Red Red Wine, capping off an incredible day that left the eighties outfits for another