THE sun may not have been shining, but that didn’t matter for fans of a-ha, OMD and Tom Bailey.

A cloudy evening at The Northern Echo Arena was brightened up no end by this trio of 1980s hitmakers.

More than 5,000 fans converged on the stadium for an evening of pop nostalgia.

Bailey, one member of the trio Thompson Twins, was on first and ran through the gamut of their hits – We Are Detectives, Hold Me Now and In The Name of Love, plus a few newer songs.

Hardened fans pressed against the barrier, singing in unison as the white-suited frontman strode around the stage, backed by an all-female band.

If the crowd were not warmed up at this point, then they certainly were when OMD took to the stage.

Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys belied their years to put on a show full of fun, energy and most importantly hit songs.

Opening with Enola Gay, they had the crowd bouncing. And with witty banter between the songs they struck up a firm bond with the audience.

At one point McCluskey said he was going to play some new songs. “From 1991,” he added with a laugh.

The likes of Locomotion, Sailing On The Seven Seas and Electricity – the band’s first hit sounded as good as when they had first been penned.

The energy expended by the duo meant headliners a-ha were going to have to work hard to surpass what had gone before.

Opening with Cry Wolf and Blood That Moves the Body, they preferred a more melancholic and moody approach, lead singer Morten Harket behind his trademark dark glasses, every now and then offering a hint of an enigmatic smile.

A string section gave their already deep songs added volume and as the darkness fell they came into their own.

Not known for conversing with the audience they let their music do the talking, Stay On These Roads, Sycamore Leaves and Manhattan Skylines were appropriate aperitifs for their biggest hits, Sun Always Shines on TV, Living Daylights and, of course, Take On Me.

Pictures: Sarah Caldecott

Words: Matt Westcott, Stuart Arnold