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The Kids From Fame Live In The U.K.



With the huge success of "Fame" in the U.K. the cast performed two concert tours in 1982/1983. 

The Kids From Fame first U.K. was a sell out with the cast performing to over 70,000 people at 6 concerts in 3 days. The cast arrived in the U.K. on 26th December 1982 and left again on January 2nd 1983. As well as the concerts there was a press conference, promotional work on TV & radio as well as magazine interviews. 

The tour starred:
Debbie Allen, Lee Curreri, Erica Gimpel, Carlo Imperato, Gene Anthony Ray & Lori Singer, the Fame Dancers and The Waters.  

The 1st tour concert schedule was:  

December 28th 1982, 2 shows at The Brighton Centre 3.00pm and 8.00pm 
December 30th 1982, 2 shows at The Royal Albert Hall, London 3.00pm and 8.00pm
January      1st   1983, 2 shows at Birmingham National Exhibition Centre 3.30pm and 7.30pm.

The concerts were filmed by the BBC and a two part TV special was screened in April 1983, featuring most of the concert. This was later released on VHS Video. A special episode "The Kids From Fame Live In The U.K". was screened in America hosted by George Burns, which featured clips from the concerts and behind the scenes.  Also the the top ten live album "The Kids From Fame Live" was released in March 1983, which spawned the live single "Friday Night".


After the success of the first tour the cast came back 3 months later, once the filming of the second season was completed, to perform a much bigger tour. This would also include shows in The Netherlands and Israel.

The tour starred:
Debbie Allen, Lee Curreri, Carlo Imperato, Gene Anthony Ray & Lori Singer, with the Fame Dancers and the Waters.

Erica Gimpel was scheduled to appear but after arguments with Debbie Allen she didn't arrive with the rest of the cast. Fame dancer Eartha Robinson replaced Erica for some of the shows and Erica joined the tour part way through. Valerie Landsburg joined the cast in the U.K. towards the end of the tour but had no work permit so could join the actual tour. Although She did actually perform "Hi Fidelity" at a number of the later concerts. Lori Singer left the tour at after the last U.K. concert and returned to America to start filming the film "Footloose". Valerie then replaced Lori for the shows in The Netherlands and Israel.   
   


The cast arrived on March 27th 1983 except Lee Curreri and Gene Anthony Ray who arrived the following day.

The 2nd tour concert schedule:

March 30th 1983, 2 shows at The Blackpool Opera House,
April 1st 1983, 2 shows at The Manchester Apollo
April 2nd 1983, 2 shows at The Manchester Apollo 
April 3rd 1983, 2 shows at The Edinburgh Playhouse
April 5th 1983, 2 shows at The Nottingham Royal Centre
April 6th 1983, 2 shows at The Nottingham Royal Centre
April 8th 1983, 1 show at Wembley Arena, London
April 9th 1983, 2 shows at Wembley Arena, London
April 12th 1983, 1 show at The Brighton Centre
April 13th 1983, 1 Show at Birmingham National Exhibition Centre 7.30pm
April 15th 1983, 2 Shows at The Coliseum St Austell Cornwall
April 16th 1983, 2 shows at Gaumont Southampton.


The concerts in Israel were filmed for an America TV special which aired as part of the 3rd season. The BBC devoted an episode of it's Russell Harty talk show to the cast, which saw them in rehearsals for the tour. The 2nd tour pretty much followed the same format as the first although some of the songs were changed.




My Review:

I remember when the concerts were first announced, I was so excited but really didn't think I would actually be able to get a ticket. Plus at age 15, I wasn't allowed to go to concerts at night and none of my family were interested in taking me. Then due to the demand for tickets the cast added a matinee performance on New Years day 1983 which just so happened to be a Saturday so then there was a little hope.

Back in 1982 my family didn't even have a phone or a credit card to book the tickets so we had to get postal orders and send them through the post. However the tickets were selling fast and I still didn't know if I’d be quick enough to get one. When the ticket arrived I was so happy and excited. I’d be sat near the back and I was going on my own but at least I’d be there. 

1st January 1983 I set off, in the light rain, wearing my blue Fame Sweat shirt and badges to catch the train. This was the first time I’d even been on a train and also the first time I’d been to a concert. I really was so excited but also worried I’d get lost and wouldn't be able to find my way. Thankfully the concert was sold out and I ended up following the crowds, it's a good job they were going to the concert too. 

When I arrived I bough a glossy programme and made my way to my seat. Hanging on the back of each seat was a Dr Pepper poster featuring each of the 6 kids. I wiped the rain from my glasses and the women next to me said "that won't help you see any better!" I didn't care I was just happy wondering what the show would be like.

After awhile the lights dimmed and the concert started with the dancers just wandering on stage. Then Debbie started to sing a slow song that I wasn't familiar with and didn't hear again until 2009. I've since learned the song is called "When You're Young" but I always remembered the lyric going something like “When you’re young and full of life with everything to live for” then there were some other lyrics and that song changed to the main theme with “you’ll hear them singing FAME”and the stage leapt into life. I also remember the goose bumps I felt as the familiar notes of the theme song blasted out. I was always disappointed that this part of the performance was missed off on the video, live album and TV broadcasts. It was actually a medley of a number of tracks, mainly instrumental for Debbie, Gene and the dancers to show their moves too. Years later I discovered that this was a performance that Debbie and the dancers had done for the 1982 Emmy awards the previous September.  

At the end the cast were all stood at the front of the stage and shouted “Hello EngLand! We are here!” I was so excited I could have cried. It was a moment I would never forget. I couldn't believe I was in the same place as my TV heroes.

Much of the first part of the concert featured songs from the second season which at that point I wasn't nor the rest of the audience was familiar with as those episodes didn't start airing in the U.K.  for another 4 months. Obviously it's what they had been working on and what had already been shown in America. Still it didn't matter to the audience because they all sounded great.

“Body Language”, was up first and it was interesting to see Carlo, Lori and Erica joining in with the routine because I eventually discovered that they weren't in the episode version. Also Gene gets a couple of lines to sing which again isn't in the original either. At the end they release balloon and then Lee comes carrying more balloons
 which he gives to a lucky member of the audience. Debbie says he's late and missed the dance number but actually he had been there playing the piano.

Gene performed "Lay Back and Be Cool" and showed the enthusiastic audience his dance moves. It was a new song but we didn't care we were happy to see Leroy dancing for us. This song was not included on the video release but was shown as part of the Israeli concert later that year.  Although in the U.K. the Israeli concert wasn't shown in the original broadcasts and at the time I didn't even know it existed. I eventually got to see it in the early 90's when the show was repeated on the children's Channel.

Lee then talked to the audience a little and slowed things down with "Alone In the Crowd". Sadly this performance was never included on the video or TV broadcasts of the show. 

Lee introduced Erica who gave a very inspiring little speech about believing in yourself before launching into a passionate performance of “Be Your Own Hero”. Another new song but the audience were soon all joining in with the La La La's. 

Erica introduced Lori who came on stage carrying her cello like a guitar and performed a great version of “Don’t Stop til You Get Enough” on the cello, with the Waters on backing vocals.

Then it was Carlo's turn and he really got the crowd going asking if everybody loved Fame and if Fame was going to live for ever! Then he performed “Friday Night”, which again was a new song but so catchy that by the end we all thought we'd heard it many times before.

All the new songs were exciting and it was so great to see the cast in the flesh and have them talk to us. Some people in the crowd behind me shouted “Where’s Doris” but they couldn't be heard on stage so we didn't get an answer. I too wondered why Valerie hadn't come over and it was only years later, when she said in an interview that she wanted Christmas off to spend with her partner’s family, that I found out. No one seemed to notice PR wasn't there but of course he had already left the show at the end of the first season. 

Debbie performed “Shimmy” which is a song I’d never heard before or since apart from in this show and I'm not really keen on it. I would have thought “Carnival” would have been a great choice for her to perform here. I always wondered why the cast actually performed so many songs we didn't know when there were so many songs from the first season ignored. I assume it’s because having just filmed the second season episodes everyone was more familiar with the new stuff but of course "Shimmy" was never included in any of the TV episodes. 

Debbie then introduces the Fame dancers and they all got to introduce themselves which was fun. The Lee and Debbie introduced 
“Desdemona” in which Erica takes Valerie’s part. There is a high part in the song after the sword fight, which to me looks like Gene is miming as it really doesn't sound like him and to me sounds like one of the Waters. 

The first part ended with “Starmaker” which is a very emotional performance and it was nice that the dancers were joining in too. The song ended with Debbie’s immortal words “We’ll be right back”!

During the interval I didn't leave my seat, worrying that the show would start again before I could get back and I'd miss something.

The second act open with lots of dry ice and Debbie performing “Hi- Fidelity” which was different to the Valerie version. It seemed strange for them to perform this song as Valerie wasn't there but as I suppose it had been a hit single in the U.K. the audience was expecting to hear it. I
 always wondered why Debbie was the one singing it. as at times it did feel like she really took over the concerts. I would have loved to see Erica performing it or even Lori but I suppose Debbie was the one producing, staging and directing the show and if the other cast members were partying a lot it was easier to do it herself.

Debbie then talked to the audience about E.T. and Gene came on escorted by one the dancers. He was walking on his knees, wearing a wig and pretending to be E.T. He then launched into "Mannequin" which had Lori dancing along with him.

Lee sang “Could We Be Magic Like You” which I have to say is so much better than the episode version. The live version is so much more dreamier and more like a lullaby and I really fell in love with this song then.

I love the ballad section as the cast performed all my favourites: “A Special Place”; my favourite at the time, “It’s Gonna Be A Long Night" (although Lori’s voice wasn't great); “I Still Believe in Me”, I just love the hug Erica and Debbie have at the end, they seemed so close, who would have known there was fighting behind the scenes? Their voices are just perfect on this song too. Carlo and Gene sing The Secret” which was a new song which was fine but I would have loved them to do a Duet of “Come What May” as they had both sung a version of it in the show. The medley ends with everyone singing on a wonderful version of Lee's “Be My Music”. It was a perfect way to end the medley.

Carlo and Lee then chatted to the audience and asked if we wanted to see their best moves before Debbie, Gene and the dancers launched into the "Sing, Sing, Sing" the instrumental dance routine from "Come One Come All". It's great dancing but I would have preferred they them to have been dancing to one of the actual fame songs like "I Can Do anything Better Than You Can".  

It was then Lori and Erica's turn to talk to the audience before the cast performed a wonderful version of “Life Is A Celebration”, which was another highlight of the show for me.  

At the end the cast were all hand in hand, they took their bows and waved goodbye to the audience. Then just when we thought it was all over they all came back on stage to perform “We Got The Power” which sounded even better live with all the cast getting to sing a few lines. Then the explosion which went into “Fame” had me running down the steps where I was sat, following some other people closer to the stage, not that I got far before I was stopped by a barrier. Some people climbed over to get closer but I wasn't brave enough. Still it was a fantastic end to a wonderful show and I sang my heart out to the theme tune. 

All too soon it was over and we were all leaving the venue but I was on such a high as I made my way back home, not really caring if I got lost on the way (although I didn't) or how long I had to wait for the train. It was a wonderful way to start the New Years. 1983 was going to be a fame filled year! 

Concert Pictures:



Set List:

Tour 1:

"When You're Young/Love Is In Control/Fame Medley" - Debbie Allen & The Waters
"Body Language" - Debbie Allen, Gene Anthony Ray & The Waters
"Lay Back and Be Cool" - Gene Anthony Ray, Eartha Robinson & The Waters
"Alone In The Crowd" - Lee Curreri & The Waters 
"Be Your Own Hero" - Erica Gimpel & The Waters
"Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" Lori Singer on Cello & The Waters
"Friday Night" - Carlo Impetato & The Waters
"Shimmy"- Debbie Allen & The Waters
"Desdemona" - Gene Anthony Ray, Carlo Imperato, Erica Gimpel & The Waters
"Starmaker" - The Kids from Fame & The  Waters.

"Hi Fidelity" - Debbie Allen & The Waters
"Mannequin" - Gene Anthony Ray & The Waters
"Could We Be Magic Like You" - Lee Curreri & The Waters
Ballad Medley: 
                        " A Special Place" - Debbie Allen & The Waters 
                        "It's Gonna Be A Long Night - Lori Singer & The Waters
                        " I Still Believe In Me" - Erica Gimpel, Debbie Allen & The Waters
                        "The Secret" - Carlo Imperato, Gene Anthony Ray & The Waters
                        "Be My Music" - The Kids From Fame & The Waters

"Sing Sing Sing" - Dance Instrumental
"Life Is A Celebration" - The Kids From Fame & The Waters
"We Got the Power" - The Kids From Fame & The Waters
"Fame" - The Waters.

Notes:
I've heard that Carlo and Erica also performed "Songs" and there are pictures of Erica in a yellow outfit that don't match the outfits she was wearing during the rest of the show. However it wasn't performed at the concert I attended and wasn't included on the LP or Video, or mentioned in any of the reviews I saw so I don't know if this is correct.


Tour 2:

"When You're Young/Love Is In Control/Fame Medley" - Debbie Allen & The Waters
"Higher Ground" - Debbie Allen, Gene Anthony Ray, Carlo Imperato & The Waters
"Murphy's Blues" -  Lee Curreri & The Waters 
"Lay Back and Be Cool" - Gene Anthony Ray, Eartha Robinson & The Waters
"Step Up To The Mike" - The Waters
"Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" Lori Singer on Cello & The Waters
"Shimmy"- Debbie Allen & The Waters
"Friday Night" - Carlo Impetato & The Waters
"Desdemona" - Gene Anthony Ray, Carlo Imperato, Eartha Robinson & The Waters
"Memory"- Debbie Allen & The Waters
"Starmaker" - The Kids from Fame & The  Waters.

"Body Language" - Debbie Allen, Gene Anthony Ray  & The Waters
"Sail Away" - Carlo Imperato & The Waters
"Mannequin" - Gene Anthony Ray & The Waters
"Could We Be Magic Like You" - Lee Curreri & The Waters
Ballad Medley: 
                        " A Special Place" - Debbie Allen & The Waters 
                        "It's Gonna Be A Long Night - Lori Singer & The Waters
                        " I Still Believe In Me" - Eartha Robinson, Debbie Allen & The Waters
                        "The Secret" - Carlo Imperato, Gene Anthony Ray & The Waters
                        "Be My Music" - The Kids From Fame & The Waters

"Sing Sing Sing" - Dance Instrumental
"Life Is A Celebration" - The Kids From Fame & The Waters
"We Got the Power" - The Kids From Fame & The Waters
"Fame" - The Waters.
                           
Notes:
"Hi Fidelity " was performed by Valerie Landsburg and "Be Your Own Hero" was performed by Erica Gimpel at Some of the concerts.
Also at some shows "It's Raining Men" was performed by Debbie Allen.

During the Israel shows Valerie Landsburg performed "Just When I Really Needed You" as a solo and "Beautiful Dreamer" as part of the Ballad Medley. 




Concert produce, staged and directed by Debbie Allen.
In Association with the Entertainment Company.
Band Conducted by Barry Fasman.
Tour Sponsored by Dr Pepper.

The Fame Dancers: 
Derrick Bryce, Michael Delorenzo, Cameron English, Leanne Garrish, Marguerite Pomerhn, Kimberley Layton, Eartha D Robinson, Bronwyn Thomas, Darryl Tribble & Stephanie E Williams.

The Waters, Oren, Luther, Maxine and Julia.

The Kids From Fame Live Video:

Live In The U.K. part 1

Live In The U.K. Part 2






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