There's one sure-fire remedy for anonymity: Hit the road, Jack.
And that's exactly what Banana-rama is doing, touring 2,000-seat halls from sea to shining American sea. It's a very conscious effort on the part of an immensely popular British band to peel back American indifference.You have to admire the creativity of Bananarama's promotion people who trumpet the fact that Banana-rama - with a long string of European dance-'til-you-drop hits - is the most successful all-female British band ever.
What is conveniently glossed over is that Bananarama's success has been largely confined to the other side of the Atlantic. Not to mention that most pop fans would be hard-pressed to name any all-female British band.
Still, it's hard to explain American indifference to one of the classiest dance bands in all of popdom. They've got style, they've got looks, they've got enough wicked rhythms to generate nuclear fusion.
Monday night, Utahns discovered what Europeans have known for years: Bananarama is more than pretty faces; they are an extraordinarily stylish dance band - a band that had Utahns dancing with delight.
Drawing upon seven years of "greatest hits," Bananarama hit the stage with flashing blue lights, bone-jarring rhythms and a zealous determination to get Utahns in the party mood. It didn't take much.
From the opening number, top bananas Jacqui O'Sullivan, Karen Woodward and Sarah Dallin set a frenetic pace that rarely slackened. Even the slow songs had a fast-paced zest to them.
By the time they ripped into the syncopated rhythms of "I Heard a Rumour," the evening's second song, fans were pouring out of their seats and crowding the front of the stage in a mass of dancing bodies, waving arms and cheering voices.
That set the pace for the unrelenting, rapid-fire delivery of "I Can't Help It," "Love, Truth and Honesty" and a medley of old hits including "Shy Boy," "Robert DeNiro's Waiting" and "He Was Really Saying Something." The cumulative effect had fans gasping for breath.
Bananarama closed out the show with a string of hits more familiar on this side of the Atlantic, including "Cruel Summer," "Love in the First Degree," "Venus" (the band's first and only No. 1 hit in America) and an encore of "I Want You Back."
But it was more than just the breathtaking music that made the show a real winner. It was the several costume changes, the tightly choreographed body motions, the seductive dance routines with three male dancers and the contagious quality of their interminable energy. Through it all pounded the incessant dance beat.
It was a beat that pounded its way into the hearts and souls of Utah fans who will never again ask, "Who is Bananarama?" And the war to dispel anonymity is, after all, why Banana-rama is on the road.