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A hard drive down memory lane; Review Level 42 St David's Hall.

Byline: Karen Price

IT was in 2002 that Mark King acquired the rights to the Level 42 moniker.

They toured that same year without gracing the Welsh faithful with their presence.

Now they have appeared. A bit of a surprise, as they have no new product to promote. As it says on the billboards, its purely a greatest hits tour.

The cynical among you will think it's just for the money. There's now only one original member, Mark King, noted for his once unique style of bass playing, the slapping of the strings with the thumb in a fast rhythmical motion. He managed, single-handedly, to make bass playing cool.

There is no doubt that King is the focal point of the performance with his highly- charged bass playing and above-average vocals.

He was accompanied by Gary Husband, drums, Nathan King, guitar and vocals, Sean Freeman, saxophone and Lyndon Connah on keyboards.

The 30-date British tour reached Cardiff, where a two-thirds full venue witnessed the band arrive on stage in silhouette with backing tapes. As the opening chords to Heaven In My Hands thumped out, all we could see were red lights the whole length of the bass fret board.

We were then taken back to 1980 with their very first single Love Meeting Love, which had a very jazzy and improvised feel to it.

King has never been one for giving interviews, preferring only to speak to specialist magazines. It was no surprise that the on-stage banter was kept to the bare minimum.

Earth Wind And Fire were a major influence and the resultant collaboration was Micro-Kid. A powerful funk rhythm with a driving drum tempo, you could smell the disco influence.

At times it was difficult to get to grips with a set that had lots of instrumental solos.

Still there was something missing: that vital connection that is the essence of a live concert, and you could see attention wavering at times.

It wasn't until King encouraged everybody to dance that the gig sparked into life.

A segment that was referred to as 'spot the song' was when the big guns were played. The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up), Starchild, Running In The Family and their only UK number one, the attention grabbing, Lessons In Love.

It was without doubt a journey down memory lane.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 13, 2003
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