Artist: Toyah Wilcox & Robert Fripp
Venue: Buxton, Opera House
Date: 25 October 2023
"The tour is now over for this year, but I believe they may be continuing the show in 2024, and I would encourage you to go and see them. No matter what style of music you like, there will be something in there for you."
When I decided to go and see Toyah Wilcox in Sheffield in February 2022, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I would hear certain songs, ‘It’s A Mystery’ being almost nailed on, but I wasn’t sure how it would be done, both musically and visually. I came away that night mightily impressed by what I had seen and heard. So when a “Sunday Lunch” tour was announced along with husband, legendary King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, I figured it was a must see, and got front row seats.
The first thing I noticed was that there was an extension on the stage front, and all the monitors were around ten feet back from the front of this, which was a bit strange, and gave the impression of somewhat isolating the band from the audience. The only thing I could think was that it was a Covid precaution, as that thing was raising its ugly head again. Robert and the band casually walked on and took their positions at around 7.30pm, Robert being seated as usual, and when the intro music stopped, they started with Toyah’s ‘Thunder In The Mountains’ at which point we were joined by the lady herself, dressed very respectfully in a dress covered in sequins, making her look like a spangled queen as she moved in the lights. And what followed was a pure delight of an evening. Toyah talked about the songs, giving us information and dates, quickly corrected by Robert when she got them wrong, and what the music meant to them, and that all the songs being performed were by people they had worked with, they knew or had visited them at home, or she had seen and been influenced by at a very early age, and the first half included songs by Blondie, Lenny Kravitz, Black Sabbath (who she told us she saw after sneaking into a Birmingham venue when she was just “a kid”), Cream, Marc Almond and an excellent rendition of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ to end that part of the show.
Around twenty minutes later they returned to the stage with Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman,’ which was also excellent, and featured shared guitar leads between Mr Fripp and Manolo Polidario. Toyah stalked the stage brandishing a baseball bat with “Good Night” written on the side for Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’, and walked along the front of stage commenting on people’s dress sense for ZZ Top’s ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ and, as there often is, there was a Toyah fanatic on the left-hand side facing. When they started ‘Relax’, it was quiet and almost smoochy, and I thought that it was a novel and interesting way to do it, but that only lasted a short while before they changed into its familiar guise. The main set ended with Toyah’s own ‘I Want To Be Free’, but they weren’t off stage too long before returning with David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ and ended the evening with ‘I Love Rock And Roll’. Robert had watched his wife adoringly and constantly throughout the whole evening, but there was a small show of affection to his other love when, right at the end, he gave a quick kiss to the top of his guitar.
The tour is now over for this year, but I believe they may be continuing the show in 2024, and I would encourage you to go and see them. No matter what style of music you like, there will be something in there for you. With Toyah’s stories between each song, and in the presence of a seventy-seven year old “Rock God”, as Toyah described him, it was a thoroughly enjoyable night.
Set List 1 (Spoilers)
Thunder In The Mountains (Toyah)
Heart Of Glass (Blondie)
Are You Gonna Go My Way (Lenny Kravitz)
Echo Beach (Martha And The Muffins)
It’s A Mystery (Toyah)
Paranoid (Black Sabbath)
Sunshine Of Your Love (Cream)
Tainted Love (Marc Almond)
Kashmir (Led Zeppelin)
Set List 2 (Spoilers)
Enter Sandman (Metallica)
School’s Out (Alice Cooper)
Sweet Child O’ Mine, (Guns N’ Roses)
Fashion (David Bowie)
Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top)
Rockin’ In The Free World (Neil Young)
Relax (Frankie Goes To Hollywood)
Rebel Yell (Billy Idol)
I Want To Be Free (Toyah)
Heroes (David Bowie)
I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll (The Arrows).
Review & Photos: Andy B.