While the Starlight Bowl’s 2018 summer concert series officially concluded on Aug. 11, local concert promoter Vahe Shahinian presented a coda to the season with two special engagement performances this past weekend.
Billed as “A mega-evening of Euro dance entertainment,” the sold-out shows starred Thomas Anders of the German band Modern Talking.
The evening also featured Fancy, who scored worldwide disco hits in the 1980s, including “Slice Me Nice,” and “Chinese Eyes,” Bad Boys Blue, a multinational pop group with a string of international hit songs led by John McInerney, and Euro disco star Lian Ross.
“The cultural diversity this show attracts is very widespread,” Shahinian said.
“These artists have had a huge following throughout Europe, Russia, Vietnam and the Armenian community since the 1980s,” he added. “Our audiences for these shows at the Starlight Bowl are coming from all over Southern California, from as far as Palm Springs and Orange County.”
Last week’s shows at the bowl served as a finale to the lineup’s U.S. summer tour, which included concerts in Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, Washington, D.C. and San Jose.
Emceed by entertainment producer Iman Huschmand, the excitement surrounding the performances began as special guests made their way backstage for a pre-show VIP meet ‘n’ greet champagne reception.
The multicultural VIP gathering included fans from Russia, Italy, Germany, the Middle East, Mexico and Central and South America, who came bearing gifts to present to Anders.
“Modern Talking was a very important part of the lives of many people in parts of the world who were unable to have access to popular music in the 1980s,” Huschmand said.
“In many parts of Russia, the Middle East, and the Far East, American and British music was suppressed. But the music of Modern Talking got through. It was underground, and the recordings were mostly bootlegged, but for many people who grew up back then, in those places, it was some of the only pop music they were exposed to,” Huschmand added. “That is why these shows have such diverse audiences. It brings back a lot of good memories for them.”
During the reception, Anders, who made it a point to take time to personally visit with each guest, signed autographs, posed for pictures, and accepted gifts along with emotional stories of what he meant to them.
Lucy Faile, who grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, held Anders’ hands tightly as she expressed her deep gratitude to him.
“You were so important to me when I was growing up,” she told him. “Your music brought my friends and me great joy.”