Get Up 'N' Dance with KC & the Sunshine Band , the Village People , the Trammps , Anita Ward , Thelma Houston , Martha Wash and more, at the Air Canada Centre, August 26. Tickets: $65. Attendance: 3,200. Rating: NN Rating: NN
I was pretty shocked to find the Air Canada Centre less than half full for the Get Up 'N' Dance party last Tuesday night. I mean geez. It was KC & the Sunshine Band ! The Trampps ! The Village People ! Woohoo! Where was everybody? Anita Ward ! Thelma Houston ! Woohoo! Hello? I'm a huge sucker for these types of trips down memory lane, and since I was around five years old in the disco days I wasn't allowed to cross that particular thoroughfare without an adult holding my hand. And I have to admit that more often than not I expect these journeys to be way more exciting than they actually end up being.
Many of the people on the bill had only a tune or two to showcase, like Anita Ward, who sang her hit, Ring My Bell, and one other song nobody had ever heard of. Thelma Houston gave us Don't Leave Me This Way along with a medley of Motown tunes I could have done without, accompanied by hyperactive Solid Gold-style backup dancers I also could have done without. Her dress, however, I must say, was hot pink, mini and fabulous. For the Trammps, of course, it was Disco Inferno. For Martha Wash , It's Raining Men.
Sure, these tunes are fun, but they're really nothing to get excited about, since they're already pretty ubiquitous.
Only the Village People and KC & the Sunshine Band had more than one or two substantial hits, yet they still don't have enough to play a show on their own.
Alas, it felt like a desperate bid on the part of the performers to relive glory days. The Village People are exempt from this, of course, since none is actually a member of the original outfit. They're more like the product of some weird estate administered by straight guys putting it out for the gay man.
KC's attempts to make the affair a grandiose one, complete with hoochie dancers, was just bizarre - proof that a little modesty can often make you look better than providing your own fanfare.
Because these songs have survived so well and been permanently embedded in the modern pop culture psyche, it's easy to forget that they were all these people had going for them and, like many hits, were often flukes.
The show did deliver what it promised, but none of these one-hit-wonders have stood the test of time as performers nearly as well as their hits.