After a summer spent with Winger playing European festivals and touring Japan, frontman Kip alights in London's swinging W1 district for a solo show. Here's what we learned.
Kip Winger, Live in London
Venue: Borderline. London
The Winger man flies solo in the capital
That Kip Winger, he's got a sense of humour
This was no po-faced, strait-laced acoustic show. Kip Winger threw in enough one-liners and zippy anecdotes to keep everyone chortling. And he certainly isn't at all precious about himself. You'd find it hard to imagine others from the 80s melodic rock world being as self-deprecating as Winger is here.
Blimey, he's written enough big songs
It's only when you hear all these songs back to back, and they're so instantly recognisable, that you appreciate that Kip Winger is one of the best writers of the past three decades. The quality never dips. From his own solo stuff through to the Winger hits.
This bloke is a consummate musician
It's very easy to get lost in the miasma of misdirected opinions that Winger were a vacuous big hair party band. Put that down to the rather glib Beavis & Butt-head campaign. But playing a 12-string guitar here, and with no other accompaniment, you realise Kip Winger is a brilliant musician, someone at home flavouring tunes with composed technique, yet never allows this to become an overbearing focus of attention.
He's got some interesting numbers in his phone
Twice during the gig, Kip Winger decides to call people on his phone. The first 'victim' is Winger drummer Rod Morgenstein, whom Kip says is the “politest man in rock”. He's actually out shopping for organic carrots! The second is one-time Alice Cooper guitarist Kane Roberts, who seems equally surprised by the call, but gets in a plug for his new band.
The audience love the man onstage
There's not just a sense that everyone here is a Kip Winger fan, but they have a genuine, deep-seated affection for him. At times, it seems it's an old mate onstage playing some songs, not a major rock hero who's sold millions of records. He has a genuine rapport with everyone.
Fiona's still got so much charisma
Fiona plays her first ever London show, opening tonight. And she literally charms the audience just through being herself. As someone in the crowd said, “I've never listened to her albums before. But I will now! She's great and so funny”. Perhaps the highlight of the entire night is when Fiona duets with Kip on Everything You Do (You're Sexing Me). It's a magical end to the latter's set.