Back in April, Bananarama announced that the original lineup of Sara, Keren, and Siobhan would reunite for a UK tour and fans went bonkers. Fans only knew one day before tickets went on sale. I tried to get the Meet & Greet tickets for the London show, but no luck. Instead, I waited for a second London show and just tried to get the best seats possible because I didn't want to get stressed out again trying to buy the Meet & Greet tickets, and not being able to get tickets at all. It was a gamble, but it all worked out.
Before I knew it, half a year went by and I left San Francisco and landed in London ready for a Bananarama-filled weekend. That Friday night (November 17), I met up my Bananarama friends Juan (from Peru/Canada), Jay (from Florida), Jason (from Oregon), and Scot (from Pennsylvania). I had met them all in person before except for Jay. The first time I talked to Jay on the phone was in 1996. So after over 20 years, it was nice to finally meet in person.
While at dinner that night, we told these guys at the table next to us that we were in London to see Bananarama and they sang "Nathan Jones" and "Robert De Niro's Waiting" to us. Such odd choices I thought, but wonderful all the same.
Later that night, we went out to a bar to meet up with Denny (also from San Francisco) and Norm (from London). It was a fun night out with with Banana Boys.
Saturday afternoon, about 8 of us fans did a special yoga session with former Bananarama member Jacquie O'Sullivan. The class was amazing and afterwards we all went for lunch and Paul Simper (Jacquie's bandmate in Slippry Feet) joined us. I had met Jacquie back in the spring, so it was nice to see others interact with her. We all had a great time.
Davearama, Scot, Norm, Anthony, Jay, and Vincenzo
We had organized a fan gathering for Saturday night we called the BananaraMathon. We reserved a space in the O Bar in Soho and met so many Bananarama fans. It really was a fun night. The O Bar said they would play some Bananarama music. Sadly, they only played three songs, but we still had a great time enjoying each other's company.
Jay, Scot, Juan, Pygmalion, Thom, and Denny
At the end of the night on Saturday, five of us (Juan, Jay, Scot, Norm, and me) ended the night having a kitchen disco with Paul Simper. We danced and sang Bananarama until the wee hours of the morning.
My husband Arturo arrived early Sunday morning. Thankfully, he didn't sleep well on the plane so we took a nap until the early afternoon. When I woke up, I had a message from Norm that his sister was ill and he wanted to know if I wanted to buy her Meet & Greet ticket for that night. Yes, I did! Woooo!
I met up with Norm outside the venue. We waited in the queue to go in for the Meet & Greet and saw lots of Bananarama fans like Mandip (from England) and Vasilis (from Greece). As we stood in line, some fans were freaking out, others just excited. I was calm about the whole thing because I had met them a few times before.
Norm and I entered the room to meet them and we immediately met Sara's daughter Alice and chatted with her for a bit. Poptastic Confessions has featured her music a few times and I've even interviewed her. Her latest song is "I Don't Owe You." Sadly, we forgot to take a photo with Alice.
Norm went first to meet Bananarama. I was up next and the manager asked my name and I replied "Davearama from San Francisco." "What did you say?" And Sara and Keren replied "Davearama!" I gave them all hugs and had the quickest chitchat before it was photo time. I thanked them and headed out.
Before the show, Norm and I met Peter Lorraine, David Russell, and many other fans. We saw Graham Norton and Andrew Ridgeley. Our seats were the first row of the second section. We could see the stage well, but we weren't close. And we were seated next to Vasilis!
The show was amazing! I got teary-eyed many times throughout the show. It was during "Rough Justice", "Cheers Then", "Stay", "Venus", and "Na Na Hey Hey." Everyone stood for the entire show, and someone had brought inflatable Bananas and those were being tossed about. The energy and love for the Bananarama was amazing. And Sara, Keren, and Siobhan's vocals were so great!
After the show, Norm went home and I hopped on the Underground with Nacim (from Brussels) and Pygmalion (from Greece). It was so much fun connecting with fans from around the world.
I initially bought 3 tickets to the Monday show back in April. Norm graciously offered to buy our third ticket. Norm texted me on Monday morning asking what row we were in. I was afraid to look because I had no idea. I saw we were on row B and I told Norm that I thought we are on the second row. We were so excited!
In the afternoon, Juan, Jay, and I went to have lunch with Pascal and Pascal, who run Bananarama's Official Website (Bananarama.co.uk). Arturo and I have met the Pascals numerous times over the years since 2002 and we consider them dear friends.
Arturo, Norm, and I arrived that evening at the Hammersmith Apollo. We ran into Juan and Jason who had just met Bananarama at the Meet & Greet! They were so very happy! And we were so thrilled for them.
Normski and I jumped for joy when we realized that row A was only in the center of the stage, and that meant our row B seats were actually the front row on the side where Keren was mostly standing. I was super excited when I realized that Bananarama-fan Yas (Australia/New York) was next to us.
The show seemed even more amazing than the night before. It was great to see Keren, Sara, and Siobhan making eye contact as they came over to our bit of the stage. I hardly took any photos because I was in full dance mode. Thankfully, Arturo took tons of photos!
Speaking of dancing, Bananarama have modified some of the classic dance routines. Yet, I have them all memorized so much that I could probably do them in my sleep. It was also fun to see Keren and Sara look over and see me doing those routines. However, during "Preacher Man" I kept doing the classic routine where you slap your shoulders. Near the end, Keren saw me do this and she went to do it, too. She gave me the stink eye with a smile and I couldn't stop laughing. After the song was over, she told me to learn the new routines! Haha
What else can I say about the show that hasn't been said? Well, a big thing that sticks out to me is how great the vocals were. All three of them had solo bits throughout and they all sounded amazing. Great job, ladies! I think my favourite bits in the concert were "Cheers Then" and "Stay", which addressed Siobhan's leaving and coming back to the group.
Another highlight was "More Than Physical", which seemed to have a Chic baseline turning it into a disco stomper. "I Can't Help It" seemed to get the Giorgio Moroder treatment and it sounded great as well. And while their first hit "It Ain't What You Do" with Fun Boy Three has never been a favourite of mine, their live version was so fantastic that I find myself singing it over and over now. And "Aie A Mwana" was just so FABULOUS! Well done, Bananarama! What an amazing show.
I cannot wait to get the CDs, LPs, and DVDs of the live concert. In the meantime, I will have to wait to see them live again when they come to the Warfield in San Francisco in February.
David, Juan, Arturo, Davearama, Anthony, and Jason
After the show, a bunch of us fans went to pub to get some food and drinks. A few were still so emotional over the opportunity of a lifetime to not only see our favourite group in concert, but to be with fans from around the world who helped celebrate our love for the group.
It was a wonderful weekend filled with love. The concerts were so exciting, and quite honestly dreams coming true for so many of us. There is something so wonderful about being a fan of Bananarama.
Thank you, Sara, Keren, and Siobhan for reuniting for the tour. We hope it lasts longer, but even if it doesn't, we are so very thankful for what we got.
Thank you, Jacquie for the yoga session and the fun lunch. Thank you, Paul for Slippry Feet goodies and the kitchen disco! May you both put on your Slippry Feet again soon!
Thank you, Norm for making it possible for me to get Meet & Greet tickets, as well as your friendship, and taking our extra ticket. Also thank you for your help in organizing the BananaraMathon Fan Gathering! I'm so happy that I got to share so much time with you.
Thanks you, Juan, Jay, Scot, Jason, Denny, Pascal, and Pascal for your friendships. And to all the new friendships made, thank you, too! And Gary and Loco (both from Australia) who were there in spirit! A special thank-you to my husband Arturo for helping make my dreams come true!
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