Eighties icons ABC took to the stage at Hampton Pools' annual summer picnic concert series on Saturday. Here's five things you need to know...

1. They were made for each other.

Band leader Martin Fry susses this out straight away.

Gazing across the sizeable audience he remarks: "You're all too young to remember the 1980s!" before  storming into Show Me Cue mass bopping. He and they are well aware of the ridiculous path life has taken to get them all to Hampton Pool on  a saturday night. 

2. And self-deprecation is the order of the evening- the banter between Fry and the crowd is good humoured throughout.

Case in point: Martin Fry's  black and white shoes are the source of much mirth. As they threaten to steal the show, Fry remarks: "That's why ! got rid of the gold suit!"

He takes off one shoe to lap up the applause...then has to go off-stage to help get it put back on his foot.

3. They can do this because as much as the crowd are aware of the ridiculousness, they are equally aware of the sublime music blasting out on stage. 

It's a non-stop soul-funk showcase: over 30 years since Lexicon of Love (1982!) and the music still sounds fresh on a summers night in Hampton.

That 'technical issues' crop up and the band still grooves on is a testament to their professionalism. 

4. And ABC have had more hits than you realise.

All the big ones are present and correct: Poison Arrow is knocked out three songs in as Fry reveals we are doing the ABC songbook tonight! And they do -Tears Are Not Enough even gets the extended 12-inch mix treatment.  

5. The new stuff fits seamlessly into the set.

As much as the band's acknowledge their place on the 1980s  nostalgia tour bus -  "That Holly Johnson is a mischievous fellow!" - they are also still releasing new material. And its a testament to their craft that.

Flames of Desire,the current Radio 2  playlister  Viva Love and Ten Below Zero are all aired tonight. Their new album is called... Lexicon of Love II. They are aware of their place in pop's past and also their place in its present.

Nik Kershaw and Ruby Turner play Hampton Pools on Friday (July 29). Go to hamptonpool.co.uk

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