August 28, 2014

Platinum Blonde at The Ex

Platinum Blonde were absolutely huge in the 80s. I saw them perform a free concert at Toronto City Hall - Nathan Phillips Square - for about a bajillion people. It was one of the first shows I was allowed to go to without parental accompaniment and apparently the news reported a "riot". That raised blood pressure at home, and I certainly don't remember riot.
What I do remember is great music. The Standing In The Dark album had recently come out and hits like "Doesn't Really Matter", "Not In Love", "Sad Sad Rain" and the title track were massively popular. The power trio held the frenzied crowed in rapt attention with their polished 80s guitar pop.
I don't think I saw the band live again until this past Friday, August 22 when they played the Bandstand at The Ex. The band looked great and they sounded tight, stripped back down to their original trio formation. The songs sounded fresh and alive with a tough edge. Besides the requisite hits, they went back in their catalogue to a tune called "Don't Tell Me No" that was never on record but someone bootlegged it at Maple Leaf Gardens and put it on the web. They went back as far as their days as a Police cover band and did a great rendition of "Message in a Bottle". They toughed-up songs like "Contact", which had a very synthed up arrangement on record, to great effect.
In 2012, they released an album called Now & Never and two strong singles - "Beautiful" and "Valentine" - made it into the setlist. As they closed out with their all-time big single "Doesn't Really Matter" (yup, that intro voice is Mark's mum) they announced, "Toronto, we are back!" Nice to see you back! I hope to hear lots of cool music and experience great live shows in the future.
Here are some of my favourites from their set:

"Not In Love" This one was filmed at Platinum Blonde's massive Toronto show that I was lucky enough to attend back in around 1984.

"Sad Sad Rain", which I've had in my head since the show.

"Standing In The Dark"


"Hungry Eyes"


"Doesn't Really Matter"

"Crying Over You"

"Take it from Me"
"Leaders in Danger"
"Video Disease"
"Not in Love"
"Sad Sad Rain"
"All Fall Down"
"Message in a Bottle"
"Don't Tell Me No"
"Standing in the Dark"
"Lost in Space"
"Situation Critical"
"Somebody Somewhere"
"Hungry Eyes"
"Doesn't Really Matter"

Encore of "Crying Over You"