We’ve all done it – surveyed an ad for an upcoming gig and said of a band: ‘Whoa – they’re playing not one but THREE nights at Wembley/wherever?!’ (but not PSB, apparently…).
Some acts who thrived in the 1980s have effortlessly sidestepped the nostalgia package tours to maintain a huge live following, able to tour under their own steam every four or five years and sell out arena gigs. They might lose a founder member here or gain a strange recruit (Reeves Gabrels in The Cure?!) there but basically seem to go from strength to strength.
How do they do it? Who exactly are their fans? After 40-plus years of service, who forks out 70 quid every three or four years to see their favourite band at the nearest enormo-dome?
Here, in no particular order, we round up the usual suspects. We’re obviously not talking about those plucky little cult acts of the 1980s. There’s a crucial missing bit in the musical brain of yours truly which would help me understand the enduring popularity of these headliners.
Variously, we will find acts who once upon a time were self-confessed haters of live performance; those who are like the Rolling Stones of 1980s pop, pedalling their tried-and-tested formula despite not writing anything decent for 30 years; those who have lost a vital frontperson, but carried on anyway. And the acts who – inexplicably – are massive in the USA despite doing middling business in the place of their birth.
Who’s who? You decide… Other suggestions are very welcome.
16. Pet Shop Boys
15. Genesis/Mike & The Mechanics
13. Tears For Fears
12. Depeche Mode
11. Simply Red
10. The Cure
8. Iron Maiden
7. Def Leppard
6. Bon Jovi
5. Motley Crue
4. Duran Duran
1. New Order