robert massimi
3 min readJun 14, 2024

Wang Chung In Concert


Last night at the Morristown Performing Arts Center, we were treated to three great 80's New Wave bands: Naked Eyes, The Motels and Wang Chung. Each band (with the exception of Wang Chung) played for about 45 minutes. It would mostly be Wang Chungs night, however. The English band who in my opinion had one of the best albums ever with "Points on A Curve" opened with "Wait". This lyric and melodic song has been playing on the airwaves from the early 80's and it is one of Wang Chungs signature songs.
 Over the band's somewhat short career, it is most recognized with its writing for the movie "To Live and Die In L.A. The band last night played an instrumental orchestration of "To Live" before playing the actual song.
 While billed as a new wave band, the versatile band has a hard rock side to it, and at times, a punk side to its repertoire. The band can be poppish as well as incorporating dance rock.
 Out of North London, its original founders, Nick Feldman, Jack Hues and Darren Costin formed a group that had a different sound. Feldman on bass is almost like a rhythm bass guitarist; far different than most bass players. This gives the band more depth in its dance numbers. It also provides a very up beat form to the bands talents. From "Dance Hall Days" to "Rent Free", the band was never pinned down to one sound that signifies most bands. When you listen to a song like "Let's Go", you're almost reminded of a Jimmy Buffet tune; in "Everybody Wang Chung" you have a very commercial, playful song that is the band's most recognized song. In playing a Clash song, you are made aware that this band can get as hardcore as any of the 80's new wave bands that were around during that era.
 With three bands on the billing, Wang Chung kept the evening short, but very tight. Playing a lot of commercial songs, but not all, they smattered the evening with less known songs as well.

The Motels were the second band of the evening with seven songs. This new wave band from Berkeley, California has a very talented lead singer in Martha Davis. Starting in 1975, the band has had many musicians come and go, but the lead singer is widely recognized as a true vocialist. At times she has that folksy, wide ranging voice of Natalie Merchant, at other times, reminiscent of Chrissy Hines. Cool and resonant, Davis owns the stage when she sings. She is also a good guitarist of note. The Motels were upbeat (anathema to Naked Eyes), their songs, while sometimes sad and pensive, have deep meaning. "Take the L" is just that kind of song. The Motels are not without tongue and cheek songs, however, "So L.A." is a tribute to the "totally" expression that was so commonly used in L.A. in the 80's, right along with the big hair.
 The Motels range is amazing, from their commercial songs: "Only The Lonely" and "Suddenly Last Summer" are feeders into deft songs like "Danger" the very staccato, "Total Control".

Naked Eyes opened a bit flat. The first song "In The Name of Love" had no feel to it. In the second number, the band picked up to a macabre sounding "Voices in My Head". "Piccadilly" is a tribute to the section in London where they're from. This is a folksie, new wave song that is catchy as well as fun. The band would end with "Promises, Promises", and "Always There To Remind Me".
 All three bands had a different sound but all were very good last evening.

robert massimi

Drama critic for Nimbus Magazine, Metropolitan Magazine and New York Lifestyles Magazine. Producer, editor and writer.