My God, can Martin Fry wear a suit.
The sartorial splendor of Fry, the lead singer of ABC, solidified the surprising link between the ’80s Regeneration Tour and West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. The Kravis is usually the place for folks to check out ballet, opera, theater, classical music — hoity toity.
But Fry and tour mate Pete Byrne — aka the driving force behind Naked Eyes — ramped up the class in a major way.
Both Fry and Byrne have refocused their efforts into their bands after hiatuses, and the enthusiasm is obvious. That translated to pure magnetism, as the unusual (read, slightly younger) Kravis crowd rushed the stage for both bands’ sets as if it were their heyday.
ABC is no one-hit wonder, and Fry and his tight group trotted out the hits with joy — “Poison Arrow”, “Be Near Me”, “How To Be A Millionaire”, “Tears Are Not Enough”. And by the time Fry launched into his monologue in the band’s biggest hit, “The Look of Love” — asking that after 25 years, whether he’s found true love — he had the crowd in the palm of his hand.
But Fry had to have the crowd passed to him out of the palm of Byrne’s hand first. Like ABC, Naked Eyes is basically the original lead singer backed by newer backing musicians, but like ABC, Byrne’s band is tight and talented. Byrne gleefully trotted around the stage with his guitar, charming the audience during the band’s hits “Always Something There To Remind Me” and “Promises Promises”.
Earlier, Tommy Tutone also added their own brand of enthusiasm to the mix. These guys are more on the level of a really good bar band — but honestly, that’s what they were when “867-5309 (Jenny)” hit the airwaves. Tommy Heath, the lone original member, seemed to really enjoy himself, and surprisingly, “Jenny” wasn’t the song that really got me and my friends going. That honor went to the volleyball-themed “Rotate”, which we’ve been singing since.
Unfortunately, the first band, Missing Persons, couldn’t make it a perfect night. Lead singer Dale Bozzio seemed more concerned with the sound mix than the crowd, and her vocals were sloppy and offkey. She even had trouble remembering her band members’ names — never a good sign.
(Sadly, a member of our party took ill before we could finish off the show with 10,000 Maniacs. If anyone had a chance to see them and wants to chat about it, please leave a message in the comments.)