Playing the Henley-on-Thames festival for the first time, the mighty Glenn Tilbrook, Chris Difford and band closed the festival with a real retro treat for all the Rewinders that remember them all the way through the 70s, 80s and beyond.
Much-loved hits like Tempted, Up The Junction, Cool for Cats, Pulling Mussels, Labelled with Love and Black Coffee In Bed were performed in their inimitable style, demonstrating what a class act Squeeze are. Just like The Kinks, their songs provide quintessential snapshots of British life, taking us right back to our misspent youth.
As usual, Rewind Festival was awash with festival goers dressed to impress in 80s costumes, providing a colourful sea of fans for the variety of acts over the weekend.
Friday night’s pre-festival entertainment for the campers saw Fine Young Cannibal Roland Gift performing his classics Johnny Come Home, Good Thing and She Drives Me Crazy, while over in the Pink Flamingo tent, Chas and Dave tribute band Gertcha provided a good old fashioned cockney knees-up to a packed tent.
Saturday kicked off with a welcome blast of sun as well as a sunshine set by The South, with tunes including Don’t Marry Her, Perfect 10 and You Keep It All In.
The Art of Noise brought their electronic VJ set to Henley, showing how Trevor Horn’s innovative digital sampling epitomised the 80s sound.
Matching the weather was Heatwave’s scorching set with classics including Boogie Wonderland and Always and Forever, which got the crowd feeling sentimental and right back to the slow dances of their youth.
Continuing along with summery feel with their reggae-infused set was the legendary UB40 who drew the biggest crowd of the day thanks to their mega tunes like Red Red Wine, Kingston Town, Food for Thought and Falling in Love with You.
A double dose of Nicks followed, keeping the crowd wowed with impeccable performances. Nick Heyward always bring a smile with his cheeky disposition and uplifting tunes including Boy Meets Girl and the very apt Fantastic Day.
Nik Kershaw gave a brilliant show with classic hits such as Wouldn’t It Be Good, Wide Boy, a cover of the song he penned for Chesney Hawkes The One and Only, and the aptly placed I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down.
Sharp-suited Martin Fry got the audience on their feet with his ABC hits Poison Arrow, All Of My Heart and The Look of Love.
For the second year running, Spandau Ballet heartthrob Martin Kemp had ladies of a certain age swooning as he took to the decks for his 80s DJ set, spinning some of the most popular tracks of the day.
Saturday’s headliner Andy Bell disappointed fans with a performance that was far from his usual standards – he’s played at Rewind before and gone down a storm. We hope to see him back to his best in future gigs.
England Women’s World Cup football match drew a massive crowd on the Sunday, thanks to the Rewind Festival organisers screening the match at the main stage and elsewhere in the grounds.
Despite the defeat, Rewinders were still up for a party, and the sun even came out to play again, raising spirits for another fun-packed day in Henley.
China Crisis got the crowd back on their feet with songs including Wishful Thinking, King in a Catholic Style and Black Man Ray.
The Farm took the crowd on a ride on their Groovy Train before travelling to a more poignant destination with their hit single All Together Now, performed to a moving backdrop of poppies and World War I battlefield images.
Red Box delighted fans with their hits Lean On Me and For America, as well as a great cover of The Mamas and The Papas’ California Dreamin’.
Tony Hadley showed he had a heart of gold when he bravely fulfilled his Henley performance, despite a recent knee injury and surgery, leaving him performing from a stool with crutches and a full leg brace.
Always a hit with Rewinders, the former Spandau Ballet frontman filled the arena with his strong vocals on hits including Gold, True, Through The Barricades and Only When You Leave.
Brother Beyond’s ever-youthful Nathan Moore made a welcome return to Rewind with his fun upbeat tracks The Harder I Try, Ain’t No Competition and a cover of Everlasting Love, fuelling the everlasting love from his fans.
It’s always good to have a new-wave contingent at Rewind and The Undertones gave the punk-lovers in the audience a treat with their songs that included My Perfect Cousin and Teenage Kicks.
Big Country burst onto the stage with their mega guitar sound getting everyone pogoing on their feet, especially to the bagpipe frenzy that is Fields of Fire. With the dynamic father/son duo Bruce and Jamie Watson on guitar, Simon Hough on lead vocals and Mark Brzezicki on drums, this was a memorable performance for the Big Country faithful.
Equally dynamic was Toyah, who always gives a dramatic and high-octane show, looking fabulous as ever in her striking outfit, and delivering great renditions of Martha and the Muffins’ Echo Beach as well as her own classics I Want To Be Free, It’s A Mystery and Thunder in the Mountains.
The crowd were in seventh heaven with an extended megamix of Heaven 17’s crowd pleaser Temptation, along with other hits like Come Live With Me and Fascist Groove Thing.
Peter Cox and Richard Drummie of Go West always draw a big crowd with their feel-good classics such as We Close Our Eyes, King of Wishful Thinking and Call Me, sparking off some impromptu mass dance routines around the arena.
The penultimate act on Sunday was exactly what the pink flamingo crowd were waiting for – Marc Almond, who has been taken into the hearts of Rewinders over the years. Singing over a pink sea of inflatable flamingos held aloft by the crowd, Marc performed theatrically as alwaysl, with his hits Tainted Love, Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart, The Days of Pearly Spencer and an incredible rendition of Say Hello, Wave Goodbye.
As Squeeze exited the stage after a memorable performance to a backdrop of fantastic fireworks above the arena, the Rewind crowd sadly trudged off with their deflated flamingos in their trolleys and already looking forward to Rewind 2024.