Even though the female British pop trio Bananarama formed in 1981, the band’s founding members have never toured together until now.

Sara Dallin, Keren Woodward, and Siobhan Fahey had multiple chart-topping songs, made four albums packed with hits, and achieved international acclaim. Then Fahey left the group in 1988, one year before Bananarama’s first worldwide tour.

Fans went bananas when the women announced plans to hit the road together for the first time in their history. The Original Line-up Tour consisted of about 20 dates across the United Kingdom in the fall of 2017 and just four North America dates in early 2018, including Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto.

Bananarama’s San Francisco show on February 21 was nostalgic and novel at the same time. The reunion was a long time coming, bridging a split that has seen the passage of 30 years. Many in the packed audience had waited decades to hear the original three perform their string of ‘80s hits, including 11 songs that reached the US Billboard Hot 100 from 1983 to 1988. The group had 32 Top 40 hits on UK charts.

Dallin, Woodward, and Fahey lit up the Warfield. They were choreographed, in sync, beaming, and wearing just the right amount of sparkle. Their hallmark vocals were flawless, as though no time had passed.

Throughout the night, the playful trio displayed the ease of longtime performers — fluidly trading positions and sharing center stage. They also showed the closeness of old friends — laughing and dancing together, sharing hugs and jests.

The setlist of about 20 tracks consisted mainly of tunes from those first four albums: the debut Deep Sea Skiving of 1983, the self-titled sensation of 1984, True Confessions of 1986, and Wow! of 1987.

The setlist also featured several cover songs, including show opener “Nathan Jones,” Bananarama’s cover of the Supremes' 1971 Motown classic.

“It’s our first time performing with Siobhan in San Francisco,” Woodward said, as the first song came to an end.

“This next one is about an old friend of ours,” Dallin joked, when introducing fan favorite “Robert De Niro’s Waiting.” It was a grand display of the group’s signature vocal style where all three members sing lead vocals in unison. The result sounded like layered harmony executed with such ease.

Early on in the show, Bananarama performed the single that started it all, “Aie A Mwana.” It’s a cover of the 1975 Black Blood tune sung mainly in Swahili.

“This next track is the first song we ever did....Feel free to sing along,” Dallin said, in a little tease to the crowd. Back in the day, the women had to learn to sing the Swahili lyrics phonetically.

The sentimental track harkened back to Bananarama’s early years. Dallin and Woodward were childhood friends. Dallin and Fahey met as teenagers while attending fashion journalism school at the London College of Fashion. The three became mates who loved clubs and the London punk scene. In 1981, they were living above the Sex Pistols’ old rehearsal room. It was former Sex Pistol Paul Cook who helped them record their first demo, “Aie A Mwana,” which later became their first single.

Bananarama then caught the attention of Terry Hall, former member of the Specials. He invited the band to perform with his new group Fun Boy Three on “It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It),” which reached the UK Top 5 in 1982. Later that year, Fun Boy Three performed on the group’s single “Really Saying Something.”

The trio performed both of those songs at the San Francisco show, as well as “Shy Boy,” “Preacher Man,” “More Than Physical,” and “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye).”

“This one you might be more familiar with. It’s our first hit over here,” Dallin said of “Cruel Summer,” which reached US #9 in 1984.

During “I Heard a Rumour,” the trio recreated their ‘80s choreography as early footage of them dancing the same moves simultaneously played on a big screen behind them. The song reached US #4 in 1987.

“When we got back together and started rehearsing, this one brought a tear to our eyes…for the first couple weeks,” Woodward said. She was referring to “Cheers Then,” which the women sang seated on stools.

As the song concluded, Fahey rose from her stool and left stage. Dallin and Woodward took to center and sang “Stay.” It was a touching tribute to Fahey and a gesture that seemed to solidify rekindled unity with their old friend and bandmate. Fahey left Bananarama in early 1988 and went on to form the pop duo Shakespears Sister, which had the iconic 1992 hit “Stay." The track was #1 in the UK for eight weeks.

By the time the fourth album Wow! came out in 1987, Bananarama had seen global success but the three best friends began to divide. In the documentary I'm in a Girl Group, that aired on BBC2 in March 2012, Fahey said she and record producer Pete Waterman locked horns over his vision for the group. Plus, she felt excluded by her bandmates. “I wouldn't like to stand on stage with somebody that I felt resentment for,” Fahey said. In a more recent statement, Fahey explained, “We had been living in each other’s hair, 24 hours a day for years. …It got pretty claustrophobic for all of us. It couldn't sustain itself.”

Her last performance as a band member was at the Brit Awards in February 1988. The appearance celebrated Bananarama’s earning a Guinness World Record as the all-female group with the most charting singles worldwide.

Jacquie O’Sullivan joined the group in March 1988 to take Fahey’s place. This incarnation went on the first world tour in 1989 and released a fifth studio album Pop Life in 1991. O’Sullivan left the group that same year and Dallin and Woodward forged on with Bananarama as a duo. Over the next 25 years or so, they went on to record five more albums, had a couple hits off the 2005 album Drama, and continued touring around the world.

Dallin and Woodward were on tour in Australia and Japan in 2016 when they had the idea to do a show with Fahey. The threesome came together for a barbecue at Fahey’s house and discussed reforming the original line up for a string of shows. “It’s part of me, part of my history,” Fahey has said ‘It’s like going back down the road to find a piece of myself that I left back then.”

Considering the bumpy history, it was striking to see Dallin and Woodward sing the hit Fahey created during her time away from Bananarama. Fahey returned to stage to finish “Stay,” hugging and swaying with her mates. “Such an amazing song,” Woodward said of her friend’s hit.

As the show approached its end, Bananarama sang their signature song in front of a screen of roaring flames. “Venus," off the True Confessions album, was a worldwide #1 smash in 1986. It is a cover of the Dutch rock band Shocking Blue’s 1970 song, which itself was a #1 hit.

“It was a delight,” Dallin said, when Bananarama returned for the encore. The women closed the show with “Love in the First Degree," the song they sang when they last performed together in 1988. The three reunited friends danced offstage together.