Giorgio Moroder performing The Celebration Of The 80s Tour at The Symphony Hall Birmingham on Monday 1st April 2019

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

It was Birmingham’s Symphony Hall that hosted the opening night of Giorgio Moroder’s first ever tour of the UK, and last night it was a bemused audience who turned out to witness it.

The 78 year old, three time Oscar winner and holder of four Golden Globes, is the pioneer behind arguably the most influential piece of electronic music ever recorded, Donna Summer’s near six minute long 1977 hit, I Feel Love, but it was an instrumental opening to the evening that went past the point of being entertaining before Moroder ambled onto the stage wearing a silver bomber jacket and his trademark aviation sunglasses to stand behind a waist high screen front of stage.

It was clear from the outset that his skills as a producer and songwriter outranked those of a singer, evidenced from the opening song which thankfully was the only one he would sing all night, Looky Looky, his first hit, a bubblegum number from 1969.

But the evening was taken up a notch as his five piece band, four singers and a string quartet took centre stage as Donna Summer’s Love To Love You Baby with its slinky and sexy deliverance, and Together In Electric Dreams had a chorus that definitely woke the audience up.

They played what seemed to be every theme to most films made in the 80s, with Scarface, Cat People, Electric Dreams, Flashdance and Top Gunn all serving to show just what a contribution Moroder made to the music of that time. His brilliance was in evidence with the throbbing Chase from 1978’s Midnight Express and vocal tracks of Donna Summer and David Bowie singing live versions of MacArthur Park and Cat People (Putting Out Fire), respectively, were used to great effect.

But apart from showing what a musical genius he is, Moroder spent 90 minutes doing very little. He played air piano, banged a tambourine and a woodblock, clapped along and sipped water, content to allow the singers to race through an assortment of hits he wrote and produced for others. To say his contribution on the night was minimal is an understatement because it was not clear just how much he actually did beyond providing the vibe.

Whilst it felt like a good karoke party, nothing could raise the audience from their seats, despite repeated requests to do so, but there were undoubted moments of sheer magnificence with Bad Girls, Last Dance, Hot Stuff, Call Me together with the night’s highlight, I Feel Love finally getting everyone to their feet, there was a sense of disappointment that left you feeling like you had been to a party hosted by a very good covers band.