MORE than forty five long years have passed since The Real Thing burst onto the scene with their infectious dance along disco music. Hits such as You To Me Are Everything consummated – and cemented- many a relationship in the late 1970s. Well, for a while at least (the cementing, that is).
Though The Real Thing have gone through their own personal anguishes and heartbreaks, original band members Chris Amoo and Dave Smith continue to wave the flag for the music that framed the late 1970s – and they do so vigorously. With panache.
Vocal Perfection was the band’s original name before they won TV talent spotting show Opportunity Knocks. Smith and Amoo remain vocally perfect. Amoo all huskiness and sexiness; Smith, much deeper. Quite a combination.
In a nutshell, pure unadulterated disco music that celebrated love in the late 1970s and continues to celebrate it in style. As they say: ‘Love is such a beautiful thing.’ Music that insisted – and still insists – you get off your butt and dance to. Music with a soul. Music with a heart.
Today, they’re sound remains as infectious and relevant as it ever was – and Chris Amoo is charm personified. No one can come to a Real Thing live performance without dancing their socks off and falling in love with the masterful musician that is Chris Amoo.
What a voice. What a personality. Charisma overload. Flirtatious. Sexy. What joy he exudes. We need more Chris Amoos in this world.
The duo help push personal troubles to one side – albeit only temporarily – and make you realise that life ain’t that bad after all.
Backed by a superb band that have been together for more than 20 years – Amoo and Smith had a packed house at Pizza Express Live Holborn (London) on Saturday April 8 up off their seats before they had even finished their pizzas and slurped down their glasses of fizzing Prosecco.
They clapped enthusiastically, they sang along like backing vocalists, many looked longingly at Chris (and he responded in kind) – and they danced despite the odd creaky knee or two. All rather rumbustious. All rather fun. More please. We are crying out for more joy in this joyless world.
Of course, it was the hits that got the predominantly female audience off their seats and boogying like they were still in the prime of physical life – Can’t Get By Without You, Can You Feel The Force and of course You To Me Are Everything. But there was much more on offer.
Highlight of the night was an achingly beautiful Children Of The Ghetto, a song sung with great emotion and passion by Amoo – and dedicated to band members Ray Lake (the original vocalist) and Eddie Amoo who are no more (Kenny Davies, at one stage a key member of the band, has also passed).
The message of the song was a relevant one. To those children where opportunities are difficult: no matter who you are or where you come from, you can do anything you want to do. Absolutely.
There were also joyous renditions of lesser known songs – Mood For Love, Whenever You Want My Love, a glorious Rainin’ Through My Sunshine and a super cover of disco hit Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.
Although Liverpool has an armoury full of musical greats, the Real Thing stand mighty tall amongst them. Like black footballers in the 1970s (the likes of Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis), The Real Thing were trailblazers who faced widespread prejudice. The fact that they managed to brush it aside and thrive is testimony to their collective inner strength and enduring talent.
If you want a spot of joy in your life, search out the next Real Thing concert and go. One hour and fifteen minutes of unremitting joy. Or download their latest album A Brand New Day – or spoil yourself by buying their Anthology box set (1972 to 1977). Maybe The Real Thing are not as sensational as they were in the late 1970s, but they are superb feel good musicians who infuse you with the desire to roll back the years and boogie until you can boogie no more. Better than Berocca.