Trevor Horn review: Masterful melodies from a pop pioneer

When a 70-year-old producer heads out on his first headline tour with some old chums, it might be seen as self-indulgence.

But Trevor Horn’s influence on pop is unmistakeable, while the success of his Reimagines the Eighties album ensured that new arrangements of old hits found a keen audience at the Festival Hall.

With around 20 musicians and vocalists, the rendition of Two Tribes captured the big studio sound if not the sleazy side of Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Before becoming a super-producer, Horn was best known as the bassist and singer in The Buggles. Forty years on, Video Killed the Radio Star showed his mastery of melody, although that quirky vocal got lost on the crowded stage. Even with odd omissions such as ABC, it was a lengthy show as Horn tackled songs outside his canon.

When you’ve got the guitarist who played with Tears for Fears, it was fine. But it was less clear why his sprawling band strayed into stodgy rock, while an overwrought Brothers in Arms even made you wish for Dire Straits’ original.

Normal service was resumed on a lush version of Seal’s Kiss From a Rose and a resplendent Relax.

A pop fan as well as a pioneer, Horn looked like he was having fun rather than launching a live career.