Gill Oliver enjoys a night of vintage pop from Britain's biggest-selling black artist

Billy Ocean

New Theatre Oxford

April 18

His hits are the soundtrack to the 1980s, as synonymous with that decade as big hair and even bigger shoulder pads.

Now in his late 60s, the hair is snow-white and the dance moves are slower, but Billy Ocean proved he’s still got it at the New Theatre last week {April 18}.

The first 10-15 minutes of the gig, part of his Here You Are – The Best Of national tour, kicked off with a few Sam Cooke and Bob Marley cover versions.

As Billy made his way around the stage wearing a brown, three-piece suit, it was hard not to think of grandad taking to the dance floor for a quick bop at a wedding.

Until, that is, you closed your eyes and realised that wow, the voice was every bit as fabulous as ever, with its rich, velvety smoothness.

And then suddenly, the band started to belt-out the first few bars of Red Light Spells Danger and the place erupted.

The aisles were suddenly crammed with an army of middle-aged mums, dancing and singing along as if we were all 17 again.

After that, the mega-hits kept coming, including Love Really Hurts Without You, which reached number two in the UK charts, Caribbean Queen, which netted Billy a Grammy and When the Going gets Tough, the jaunty theme song to the Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny Devito movie Jewel of the Nile.

With a huge smile on his face, Billy was clearly having fun and when he invited us to sing along to Get Outta My Dreams; Get Into My Car, we proved that not only did we know all the words but we weren’t afraid to yell them at top volume.

Running through that list of hits, it’s not surprising the Trinidad-born singer-songwriter, who moved to Britain when he was seven, has sold a staggering 30 million records and amassed a pile of gold and platinum records along the way.

Backed by three superb singers, including daughter Cherie, this was a storming reminder of the song-writing and singing talent that took him to the top and has kept him there for 30-odd years.