Pop fans step back in time for retro party night

Sam Fox on stage at Livewire Festival, Blackpool
Sam Fox on stage at Livewire Festival, Blackpool

At their peak in the 80s, the Stock Aitken Waterman gang were the princes and princesses of pop - topping the charts and on the cover of magazines week in, week out.

And for just a few balmy hours on Blackpool Promenade, we were all taken back there ourselves as Pete Waterman presented The Hit Factory Live on night two of Livewire Festival.

It was a fun night of retro reminiscence - although there seemed a surprising lack of day-glo leg warmers among the crowd - all hosted by Pete Waterman.
In the good old days, Pete was regularly in town showcasing the best of 80s hitmakers as part of the Hitman And Her TV series, and he recalled the time a little-known Australian girl called Kylie made her first UK TV appearance... From Blackpool's Palace night club.

Who'd have thought it?

And it was her Neighbours' on-screen hubby Jason Donovan who headlined the pop party, with a slightly odd set list - which seemed a little light on the hits, and there was some awkward moments of chat which fell a bit flat.

My inner eight-year-old didn't really care though, especially once he got round to Especially For You and encore track Too Many Broken Hearts, I was right back at one of my first ever pop concerts singing along to my heart's delight.

Prior to Jason, we'd been treated to a comparatively conservatively-dressed Sinitta and her dancers bopping along to So Macho, as well as short sharp sets from former Wham backing singers Pepsi and Shirley with Heartache and Undercover.

Brother Beyond's Nathan Moore put on a fun party mix to lift the tempo, before Sam Fox took to the stage ahead of Donovan's headline slot.

But it was Go West, on far too early in the night at second in the line-up, who were the highlight for many.

Frontman Peter Cox's voice sounds as good as it ever has, whether on their own hits such as We Close Our Eyes or on cleverly chosen covers such as Kings Of Leon's Sex On Fire.

And of course, the legendary Pretty Woman soundtrack smash King Of Wishful Thinking was an absolute treat - one of the stand out songs from the era sounding as great today as it did back then.

Festival fans now just have to step a few years forward in time and be ready to get jiggy with it as Will Smith brings Livewire to a close tonight.