All-original members of Bananarama will perform ‘Cruel Summer,’ ‘Venus’ and more for the first time ever in Los Angeles

As Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward of Bananarama were touring through Australia and Japan in late 2016, the pair came up with the wild idea to try to get the original line-up, which included Siobhan Fahey, back together for a special one-off show sometime in 2017. It had been 29 years since Fahey left the British pop group that topped the charts with songs such as “Cruel Summer,” “Robert De Niro’s Waiting,” “I Heard a Rumor” and a cover of songwriter Robbie van Leeuwen’s “Venus.”

Fahey parted ways with the band in 1988, a year before Bananarama set out on its first world tour as a two-piece in support of its first four, hit-loaded albums including its 1983 debut “Deep Sea Diving,” 1984’s self-titled smash, 1986’s “True Confessions” and 1987’s “Wow!.” Though she was very much an instrumental part and co-writer of some of their biggest songs – which eventually led to a Guinness World Record for the all-female group with the most chart entries in the world during their heyday – Dallin and Woodward continued on without her, touring the world and releasing six more albums.

Since so much time had passed, Dallin said she wasn’t sure if Fahey would even be interested, but was glad when she enthusiastically agreed.

“She was totally shocked,” Dallin said in a recent phone interview. The initial plan was to be a single reunion show in the U.K., however the fans went so “mental,” as Dallin describes, that 10 more dates were quickly added.

“People went crazy,” she continued. “I mean, they had never seen the three of us together and it sold out really quickly … it was just fantastic.”

Now, Bananarama is headed to North America for four dates including a stop at The Novo in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

  • Bananarama (from left: Siobhan Fahey, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward) is currently out on its one-off, all three orignal members tour which comes to The Novo in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Photo by Grant Pollard, Associated Press)

    Bananarama (from left: Siobhan Fahey, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward) is currently out on its one-off, all three orignal members tour which comes to The Novo in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Photo by Grant Pollard, Associated Press)

  • Bananarama (from left: Siobhan Fahey, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward) is currently out on its one-off, all three orignal members tour which comes to The Novo in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Photo by Grant Pollard, Associated Press)

    Bananarama (from left: Siobhan Fahey, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward) is currently out on its one-off, all three orignal members tour which comes to The Novo in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Photo by Grant Pollard, Associated Press)

  • Bananarama (from left: Siobhan Fahey, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward) is currently out on its one-off, all three orignal members tour which comes to The Novo in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Photo by Grant Pollard, Associated Press)

    Bananarama (from left: Siobhan Fahey, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward) is currently out on its one-off, all three orignal members tour which comes to The Novo in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Photo by Grant Pollard, Associated Press)

  • Bananarama (from left: Siobhan Fahey, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward) is currently out on its one-off, all three orignal members tour which comes to The Novo in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Photo by Wendy Carrig)

    Bananarama (from left: Siobhan Fahey, Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward) is currently out on its one-off, all three orignal members tour which comes to The Novo in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Feb. 20. (Photo by Wendy Carrig)

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Fahey, Dallin and Woodward have known each other since they were teenagers. The trio formed Bananarama in 1981 and though it has now been 30 years since Fahey was in the group, Dallin said when they got back together for rehersals it was just like old times.

“It was like no time had passed and we laughed and snickered in interviews just like we did when we were young,” she said with a laugh. “Nothing had changed. It was that same ridiculous sense of humor and us breaking down laughing. Siobhan, I think, was nervous at first because obviously she had never performed any of the songs live so she had a lot to learn like the dance routines and getting her confidence up about being on stage, but I think she did it brilliantly.”

As the trio stepped out on the stage for the first time ever last November and the crowd went “ballistic,” Dallin said she took the moment in, looking out at the enthusiastic audience.

“It was just gangs of office girls, gay people, a mix of people that have grown up with us, some middle-aged, some young kids,” she said. “It was such a celebration.”

She’s expecting the same of an L.A. crowd. Much like the successful sold-out shows in clubs and theaters around the world in more recent years with artists like Boy George, Adam Ant, the Bangles and the ever popular ’80s themed DJ events featuring English radio icon Richard Blade, Dallin said that with all of the unpleasant news and events happening in the world today, the fans that spend their hard earned money on these gigs just want to have a good time and sing along to the songs they know and love.

“The ’80s was really a very special time and I think everyone was individual because you would know what a Duran Duran song was and what a Bananarama song was because you could identify that sound,” she said. “It was also the beginning of MTV, so it was very exciting and people have great memories from that. It was very much pop music and it was feel-good and fun and people need that in their lives.”

When Bananarama was first coming up, Dallin said they had a hard time being taken seriously. A decade into their career and they were still getting asked in interviews if they wrote their own music.

“That was always very insulting,” she said. “But I think we’ve stood the test of time. Even the shows that Keren and I do without Siobhan, people are coming out by the thousands to see us. We’re definitely getting some recognition and credit where credit is due. The three of us were kind of tough little cookies. We wanted to do our own music and we always sort of did things our way, but it wasn’t always easy. Obviously you want to be taken seriously and you want to be as credible as like Duran Duran or whoever else, but because we were female it was like ‘Oh well, you’re fun pop, throw away stuff.’ But we are proud of the music we’ve written and now have a great body of work that really speaks for itself.”

Though Fahey is only back with the group temporarily for the remainder of the reunion tour and some festival dates during the summer, Dallin said there wasn’t a plan to write any new music or record anything new with Fahey. She and Woodward will keep touring together, however, and with the success of the reunion “we will see what happens,” she added.

Bananarama

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20

Where: The Novo, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles

Tickets: $38-$55 at AXS.com

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