Review: Bananarama excel in first ever outdoor gig at Edinburgh Castle

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For their first ever outdoor gig, Bananarama could scarcely have chosen a more glorious setting.

Edinburgh Castle does take some beating as a backdrop and as the threatened rain stayed away, there was no need to reach for Cruel Summer references.

Ably supported tonight by the pixie of pop ©, Clare Grogan and her all-female Altered Images and a mostly male Bluebells, the trio of Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward are on what looks to be a last live tour for their unashamedly dance round a handbag pop oeuvre.

Clare and co are great fun and the main wee lassie barely stops moving, despite sporting six inch heels, maybe to keep warm to be fair. The Bluebells run through their set at fiddle arm speed, finishing on Young at Heart, perhaps appropriately given the demographic out front.

In celebration of the main act, there’s a decent smattering of pink leg-warmers and head scarves as well as many inflatable bananas in the mostly female crowd.

They start strong with Nathan Jones, gone too long apparently and into the first of their Funboy Three collaborations with It Ain’t What You Do. A fairly leftfield outing next with Aie A Mwana, a Swahili inspired track which they declare, proudly self-deprecating, made number 92 in the UK charts.

They like a bit of chat between songs but did have a habit of talking over one another although I did gather one of them used to live at the convent on Whitehouse Loan, until “the devil took her”, which is nice.

Given their vintage, there’s a slew of age references, brown hair being the new grey being one throwaway comment but quite frankly, there’s no shortage of energy on stage, on or off for that matter.

Love, Truth and Honesty gets a rare outing “sorry if this is a bit rusty” (it wasn’t) and then into full-on retro-jukebox mode with Really Saying Something and then Venus, the girls walking, the crowd through the arm moves. Another two pop classics to close with Love in the 1 st Degree and Na Na Na, Kiss Him Goodbye and then off they went, for some much deserved gin and wine.

An excellent night all round, plenty of mum-dancing and smuggled in wine in evidence (shock, horror) but Altered Images may have stolen the show early on.