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School Disco Classics - Reliving Your Youth With Retro Concerts
 by: Robin Richmond

Looking back school disco’s were the epitome of uncool. People tended to fall into two different categories; those who were clearly very geeky and those who were delusional to the point of thinking they were at the cutting edge of popular culture with their suspect haircuts and jerky dance moves. These two subgroups could of course be further broken down into boys and girls. Girls tended to dance on mass together in tight circles gossiping and singing all the words, while the walls of the school hall were lined with nervous looking boys doing their best to pretend that they didn’t know the words to the latest Rick Astley hit.

However, as the old saying goes - school days were the best days of your life and like it or not these discos were the soundtrack. To this day hearing a song can cast your memory back to the creaking sound system ran by a DJ old enough to be your great uncle – you may even still sport the scars of failed break dancing moves. It’s perhaps due to these sparks of nostalgia that has led to the increasing popularity of retro concerts.

In the past retro concerts have been a little bit of a mixed bag. For every Bob Dylan there is a sad miserable effort from a band desperately trying to re-live their youth and squeeze an extra few pounds out of “the final tour”. Very often going to see these fallen idols can shatter the memories of your youth and make you realise just how uncool you and they were in the first place. It is always worth therefore doing a little investigating before heading off to a retro concert. Does the artist still have it? Have the drug fuelled parties of their youth taken their toll? Are they medically speaking still alive?

Luckily there are a number bands touring in the near future across the UK that do, definitely still have it. One perennial favourite is Scottish singing legend Rod Stewart who is planning dates across the UK in Manchester, Newcastle and London to name but a few. Famed for hits such as “Maggie May” and “Do ya think I’m Sexy?” - Rod has been entertaining crowds across the world since his career began as a singer in the early 1960’s. While the numbers of people replying positively to his most famous hit has no doubt diminished through the years, Rod’s lyrical presence has certainly not and he continues to be one of the world’s great showmen.

One of the quintessential school disco greats from the 80’s were the sublime reggae outfit, UB40. While the name of the band is certainly very apt for many of their current followers, UB40 are still as good a live act as you will see. Formed in 1978 UB40 are heavily influenced by 1960’s Ska and reggae which was the inspiration behind original tracks such as King", "Madam Medusa", "Food for thought" and "Signing Off". UB40 have 2 dates in December playing to an expected sell out crowd at Wembley, London.

One act guaranteed to spark an emotional response from your mother are the Everly Brothers. Best known for tracks such as “Wake up Little Susie” and “Crying in the Rain”, the Everley brothers are widely regarded as one of the greats in rock and roll history. Playing live in the UK this winter, tickets can be bought for their Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester gigs which promise to be a sing-a-long extravaganza!

In the past retro concerts have received a lot of bad press, with fans wishing they could just remember their favorite artists when they were at their peak. However, as the saying goes for many artists “class is permanent” and if you are looking for a fun day out listening to the songs of your youth then these concerts are great. Just don’t expect miracles – you aren’t going to look 16 again no matter how loud you sing...

For further information on retro concerts and concert breaks in the UK try short break specialist

About The Author

Robin Richmond is a freelance travel writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.

This article was posted on September 09, 2005


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