I spoke to BBC Radio 2's Gary Davies who is bringing Sounds of the 80s Live to Blackpool Tower Live Weekender

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An exclusive chat with one of the stars of the highly anticipated Blackpool Tower Live Weekender coming this weekend!

The legendary broadcaster Gary Davies, 66, is bringing his popular Radio 2 ‘Sounds of the 80s Live show’ to the iconic Blackpool Tower this May bank holiday weekend as part of a new series of events called the Blackpool Tower Live Weekender.

The former Radio 1 DJ and presenter of Top of the Pops will bring his ‘Sounds of the 80s show’ to life on Friday, May 24, complete with dancers, special guests and of course a full set list of 80s bangers.

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Celebrity reporter Aimee Seddon was able to catch Gary to have a chat about all things Blackpool and all things eighties music ahead of his show - take a look at what was said below:

Legendary DJ Gary Davies is coming to Blackpool this Spring with a live version of his popular Radio 2 show 'Sound of the 80s'Legendary DJ Gary Davies is coming to Blackpool this Spring with a live version of his popular Radio 2 show 'Sound of the 80s'
Legendary DJ Gary Davies is coming to Blackpool this Spring with a live version of his popular Radio 2 show 'Sound of the 80s' | submit

How are you feeling about bringing the Sounds of the 80s Live Show to Blackpool?

Gary: “I can't wait to come to Blackpool because Blackpool is such a special place for me because I grew up in Manchester so I'd be in Blackpool probably two/three times every year. Quite often we’d holiday in Lytham St Annes and Blackpool’s just up the coast and [I’d] spend as many days as I possibly could on the Pleasure Beach, I absolutely loved it. So really looking forward to going back because I haven't been for a little while, so it'll be nice to get back there.”

For people who have not heard of the Sounds of the 80s, how would describe it?

Gary: “Well they must have been living under a rock! How can you not have heard of Sounds of the 80s? Sound of the 80s, it's a two hour radio show that I do every Saturday night on Radio 2 and it basically just plays the best music that the eighties had to offer and what we've done is we've taken the radio show, complete with my producer, Johnny Kalifornia, and we're… recreating the show live on stage. And basically, to put it very simply, it's a massive, eighties party. Three hours nonstop. You won't stop dancing.

“We always have special guests from the 80s performing live, I think in Blackpool, we've got Mark Shaw from Then Jericho plus a surprise guest as well. We have Gary's Gang who are incredible Sounds of the 80s dancers - they really are so good and there'll be dancing along to specially curated master mixes, put together by my producer Johnny Kalifornia, and sort of recreating classic scenes from iconic 80s movies, things like Dirty Dancing and Ghostbusters and things like that, as well as portraying amazing 80s icons like Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, Wham, etc, you get the drift. So it is just three hours of joyous 80s party tunes.”

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How does recording it live on stage, like at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, affect your setlist?

Gary: “Well, obviously, it's a live show in front of a live audience so it's much more party orientated than say a normal sounds of the 80s show that we do on the radio every Saturday night. So this is just party banger after party banger, it's all about dancing.”

During the 80s, you were at the forefront of the music scene presenting on Radio 1 and Top of the Pops- what are the stand out songs for you from that time?

Gary: “There are so many songs and it's always hard to just narrow it down to the ones that you play on the night because you’re choosing from 10 years of incredible music. But you know, we do narrow it down ad we're playing amazing songs from people like Madonna, from Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Tears for Fears, Bon Jovi... the list just goes on and on and on. I promise you, you won't be disappointed if you come down.”

Gary performing his Sound of the 80s Live Show on stageGary performing his Sound of the 80s Live Show on stage
Gary performing his Sound of the 80s Live Show on stage | submit

Have you been to Blackpool Tower before?

Gary: “I've been to the tower but never to the Tower Ballroom. This would be my first time so it's really exciting for me. I mean, like I said, Blackpool is so close to my heart from memories growing up as a kid, but also, you know, doing the Radio 1 Roadshow there back in the 80s and early 90s was phenomenal and I did it a couple of times and I even switched on the Blackpool Illuminations as well!

“I remember just having the most amazing time and I also remember one year we got these special passes to the Pleasure Beach. So the day before we were due to do the roadshow and switch on the lights, I had these special passes, which meant I could go on any ride in a priority queue ad I used them to the max. It was so much fun.”

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Are you going to try and get to the Pleasure Beach again?

Gary: “I’m definitely going to do my best, definitely. And get some candy floss as well!”

Are you going to stick around to watch anyone else who is performing?

Gary: “Well, obviously Jo Whiley is doing the Saturday and its Brand New Heavies on the Sunday. I would LOVE to stay but I have a radio show every Saturday night between eight and ten so I need to get back for that - and hopefully my voice will still be intact after our show in Blackpool!”

Gary with fellow BBC radio DJ's Simon Bates and Steve Wright promoting Comic Relief's Red Nose Day in 1989. (Photo by Douglas Doig/Express/Getty Images)Gary with fellow BBC radio DJ's Simon Bates and Steve Wright promoting Comic Relief's Red Nose Day in 1989. (Photo by Douglas Doig/Express/Getty Images)
Gary with fellow BBC radio DJ's Simon Bates and Steve Wright promoting Comic Relief's Red Nose Day in 1989. (Photo by Douglas Doig/Express/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Q) Do you have any memories of what Lancashire audiences are like?

Gary: “I've always loved Lancashire audiences because I'm a Manchester boy and I’ve spent so much time there. To me, it just feels like I'm going home and that's the best feeling in the world. Like I said, I spent so many days, weeks in Blackpool, it's really a very special place for me and I can't wait to get back.”

Q) So this will be a nostalgic trip for you?

Gary: “Very much so - it’ll be interesting to see how it's changed because I've not been there for a long time.”

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Why should people get tickets to come see your live show?

Gary: “If you want the most fun party ever, Sounds of the 80s at the Blackpool Tower will be the place to be. I promise you, you will not stop dancing for three hours. It is so much fun. It is hit after hit after hit and you're guaranteed a great time so do come join us, we'd love to see you.”

More images from a Sound of the 80s Live show featuring Gary and dancers.More images from a Sound of the 80s Live show featuring Gary and dancers.
More images from a Sound of the 80s Live show featuring Gary and dancers. | submit

And are you going to be dancing for three hours?

Gary: “I move around a lot, I try to dance but I'm not a very good dancer. In fact, I’m a very bad dancer but it doesn't stop me, I don't care. What's the saying? ‘Dancing like nobody's watching’ - a lot of people are watching and I still don't care. So yeah, I do my best but I'm not very good, you're not going to find me in Strictly anytime soon in the Tower Ballroom!”

If you’ve been touring with music since the 80s, how do audiences differ now compared to 40 years ago?

Gary: “Obviously everyone's a little bit older but we also do get a lot of younger people coming to the show as well, which is great, because 80s music has become timeless now. Young kids grow up on 80s music because it's everywhere, whether it's on TV or in a film or on the radio.

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“The audience's have been great wherever we've gone, the difference, I guess, between now and the 80s is back in the 80s, we were doing the Radio 1 Roadshows, which were huge, like switching on the lights in Blackpool, there will have been anything from 10 to 20,000 people there, which is a lot. Obviously, the venues that we're doing now are a lot smaller and a lot more intimate, but it's still the same great energy and it's still a lot of fun.”

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