herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Review

3ARENA > CHRIS WASSER

Tony Hadley has disappeared. He and his boys aren't yet finished with I'll Fly for You when Spandau Ballet's suited and booted front man slips away into the wings. Where has he popped off to, you might ask? Why, he's only gone to fetch a beverage from one of those lads carrying a bottle pack.

Ah yes, a Spandau Party always starts in Dublin. This is where the lads set up shop in 1985 to record Through the Barricades. This is where the 2009 Reformation Tour began, almost two decades after the New Romantic pin-ups parted ways in a blazing wave of bitterness. And whaddaya know? They're doing it all over again.

New album (well, some of it's new), new film (the critically-acclaimed Soul Boys of the Western World documentary), new tour. They look good - they sound even better.

dazzling

A dazzling throwback to Spandau's Blitz club days sees the brothers Kemp (note: bassist Martin is the silver fox; guitarist and keyboardist Gary remains the brains behind the operation) and their finely-groomed gang grooving like it was 1981 all over again. Before the grey suits. Before the Gold, even (they're saving that for the encore).

Bundled together; heads down, focus tight, Spandau Ballet reclaim their New Wave credentials with the scintillating Chant No. 1 and the era-defining To Cut a Long Story Short. They're having a blast, and they seem just as amused by a video of the good-old days as we are.

Things get cheesy - of course they do. We've got dad-dancing all over the shop, but is that really such a bad thing? Hadley (54) and his powerhouse vocal still floor us. Drummer John Keeble pounds his kit harder than Animal. Athletic saxophonist Steve Norman (great hair) has way too much fun with his instrument. Martin (the favourite) knows he's gorgeous, and a deadly bass man, too.

Later, Gary and Tony perform a duet by the staircase, get mobbed on their way back to the stage and round things out with the blue-eyed soul magic of True. Oh, and did we mention our stand-out fan moment of the night? It has to be the bloke near us who insisted that Spandau Ballet "play Rio!" Oi, Tony - give that man your beer…

IHHHH

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