Stephanie Clift opened the show with her country pop that harkened back to a Stevie Nicks style. As a three piece they were joined by Larry Love and Nick Reynolds of Alabama 3 for some songs and this was clearly lots of fun onstage. Slow Dance, written by guitarist Mark revealed a real fragility in Stephanie's voice. Stephanie has a good set of catchy country pop songs, definitely worth checking out.
Toyah emerged covered in gold. Good Morning Universe was the opening number, an ageless classic. Toyah had a sparkle in her eye and energy that belies her 60 years.
Next, from album Anthem: We Are. Toyah's introduction suggested it should have been a single. Very in the vein of 8th Day, by Hazel O'Connor.
Her cover of Echo Beach was, in our opinion, better than the Martha And The Muffins original.
Inroducing Thunder in the Mountains, Toyah mentions the mad 80s videos. This song got some early audience participation. Toyah told us about Neon Womb, which was written 40 years ago whilst filming with Katherine Hepburn. Being lonely in hotel rooms as a young woman inspired this claustrophobic track. Next was Rebel Run and then a song for those who got into trouble with their mothers for dying their hair pink: Be Proud Be Loud ( Be Heard). Toyah is wonderfully eccentric and loved by the appreciative audience as she twirls and takes a bow at the end.
She described the next song from the album Anthem, as being for the dispossessed: Jungles of Jupiter. She followed Brave New World with the Nancy Sinatra cover. These Boots Are Made For Walking, from her time in The Humans. This was a song she used to sing to get out of washing up when she was six.
Toyah is now a Dr of media. Dr Toyah Willcox: giving lectures in university, she told us. More from Toyah's vast back-catalogue: Our Movie, Race Through Space and Obsolete: song written to keep punks on board. Quite a high pitched vocal but Toyah easily copes. We were loving the small chats between each song setting the scene behind it.
From Anthem, the song that changed her live for ever: Its a Mystery prompting a big sing along
From touring Vampires Rock on stage Toyah covered Billy Idol Rebel Yell. With audience singing "more more more".
From the In the Court Of The Crimson Queen album was the classic Sensation exploiting Toyah's admirable vocal range.
The song banned in Belfast: Danced had the audience moving their feet enthusiastically, and the set ended wit the hugely popular I Want To Be Free.
As a kind-of encore Toyah performed a strange song written at that strange time of life, 50: Little Tears Of Love, and the final song, and early single Ieya.
While other 80s star were doing short sets in front of assembled deckchairs in South Tyneside, Toyah held court for at least 90 minutes. Still full of energy, Toyah puts the young stars of today to shame.
Words and photos: Joanne Oliver for Jowheretogo and Carliol Photography
All part of www.jowheretogo.com