Lost ’80s Live

Mandalay Bay Beach, Aug. 13

Lead singer Martha Davis summed it up best after the Motels opened their three-song set with “Suddenly Last Summer” by letting the audience know that this tune could have been the theme of the entire night. As she sang, “One summer never ends/One summer never began” it was as if we were our own 1980s summer movie with our feet in the sand or our legs knee-deep in the pool, watching bands whose heyday was 30 years ago play their hits.

For me, it was a nostalgia trip of songs I like but missed their first time round. For most of the crowd, it was a chance to relive a decade of decadence and music that holds up surprisingly well. Davis, with whatever incarnation of the Motels she has today, sounded good on closer “Only the Lonely.”

The hairdo that A Flock of Seagulls frontman Mike Score made famous is no more (if there is one singer who has an excuse to wear a wig, it’s him), but the songs soldier on. “Modern Love Is Automatic” sounds like it could be on any indie or college radio station today. “I Ran (So Far Away)” was the crowd favorite of the night. And “Space Age Love Song” continues to endure as one of the hidden treasures of the New Wave Era. Something tells me we’ll be doing this again, suddenly next summer.

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