There is no real secret to the success of Spandau Ballet’s current world tour. They simply have great songs and a killer setlist.
Spandau Ballet has had 17 chart singles in the Australia Top 100 during the 80s. Over the course of a near two-hour concert, they somehow manage to keep the audience enthralled with the old songs and themselves active with a few new ones.
The first thing you notice at a Spandau Ballet show is how good these guys are as musicians, how great Tony Hadley is as a singer and how brilliant Gary Kemp is as a songwriter. Almost every note and every word of every lyric came from Kemp. (Hadley wrote the new song ‘Soul Boys’ which opens the show).
Fans are given a real sense of the origins of Spandau Ballet with the Blitz medley, focused around the first album ‘Journeys To Glory’ (1981) during the ‘New Romantic’ (aka Blitz) nightclub scene from 1979-1981 where Spandau Ballet was born. They dedicated the segment to fellow Blitz artist Steve Strange who passed away recently.
Musically there were two Spandau Ballets. The early Blitz days and then the polished pop period. As a band Spandau Ballet evolved rapidly musically over their first three albums and Gary Kemp as the only songwriter kept pace with the changes. By album three ‘True’ in 1983 Spandau Ballet’s ‘blitz’ period sound had all but disappeared and was replaced with the musically perfect production tailored for the American market. ‘True’ became their first US hit and was a global sensation for the band.
For these shows the fans came along to witness the soundtrack to their 80s performed live and they were not disappointed. Steve Norman’s sax, John Keeble’s drums, Martin Kemp’s bass and Gary Kemp’s lead guitar create a unique sound that separated them from the new UK bands at the time, Duran Duran, Tears For Fears, Wham and Culture Club. If anything, Spandau Ballet’s first two albums were closer to Ultravox than any other UK act at the time.
This was a real band with real songs that managed to avoid the production fads of the day (and there was a new one every month in the early 80s). You can go to a Spandau Ballet show and hear what they did then still sounding great now.
The only break from tradition was the Tony Hadley/Gary Kemp solo spot at the sound desk. Hadley and Kemp performed acoustic versions of ‘Empty Spaces’ and ‘Gold’. The full band version of ‘Gold’ concluded the show.
Spandau Ballet setlist, Boston, 2015
Soul Boy (from The Story, 2014)
Highly Strung (from Parade, 1984)
Only When You Leave (from Parade, 1984)
How Many Lies (from Through The Barricades, 1986)
Round and Round (from Parade, 1984)
This Is The Love (from The Story, 2014)
Steal (from the Story, 2014)
Chant No 1 (from Diamond, 1982)
Reformation (from Journeys To Glory, 1981)
Mandolin (from Journeys To Glory, 1981)
Confused (from Journeys To Glory, 1981)
The Freeze (from Journeys To Glory, 1981)
To Cut A Long Story Short (from Journeys To Glory, 1981)
Raw (from Heart Like A Sky, 1989)
Glow (b-side, 1981)
Empty Spaces (acoustic) (from Heart Like A Sky, 1989)
Gold (acoustic) (from True, 1983)
Once More (from Once More, 2009)
I’ll Fly For You (from Parade, 1984)
Instinction (from Diamond, 1982)
Communication (from True, 1983)
Lifeline (from True, 1983)
True (from True, 1983)
Through the Barricades (from Through The Barricades, 1986)
Gold (from True, 1983)
Spandau Ballet remaining Australian dates
May 22, Perth, Perth Arena
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