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Archive for November, 2009

Just over a week ago I saw Spandau Ballet performing at the brand new LG Arena (I know this review’s taken a while, I blame A-Levels!). I must admit, I wasn’t expecting much from the concert – I didn’t know their songs very well, and we had tickets right at the back.

However, when we got to our seats, we were told that we had been relocated as our seats were limited view. This had happened before, when we went to the very same N.E.C (it’ll always be the N.E.C to me!) to see Take That (supported by the lovely Sophie Ellis Bextor) and we had a much better view. Twice in a row?! How lucky are we?!

Very lucky indeed! The seats were right next to the stage, and we had a fantastic view (if a rather sideward one)! I even got a smile from Tony Hadley!

So have Spandau Ballet still got it?

To be perfectly honest, I felt the concert got off to a bit of a slow start. For the first two songs (To Cut A Long Story Short and The Freeze) the P1050558band pretty much stood there, bunched together. It didn’t seem a very good use of the stage – the poor drummer looked very lonely indeed!

But by the time they played Only When You Leave they were filling the stage well and it remained this way for the rest of the night. And I must say at this point that having not really known their music until about a week before the concert, I really grew to like their music seeing them live, and one of my favorite of their songs is I’ll Fly For You. They didn’t really do anything special for this song, but that is exactly the point I have always made: you don’t need special effects for a good concert.

Spandau Ballet know how to perform without over the top effects (now Take That’s Circus tour was certainly a spectacular and I do think that Take That are very good performers, but it is a prime example of too much going on at once) and Tony Hadley’s voice is still incredible! As well as this they really connected with the audience, which is in my opinion the most important thing (next to of course actually being able to play the music!).

P1050583Once More is their new single from their recent greatest hits album (titled Once More!), and I really like it. Probably the best thing about Spandau Ballet is that their songs are instantly likeable, so if you’re not familiar with their music, I would definitely recommend it. I couldn’t name one song in the set which I took a dislike to.

Around half way through the set they played Round And Round. For this they played a video montage on the screen of old footage of the band, and you could particularly see at this point how happy they were to be back.

For With The Pride, they played a stripped down acoustic version with just Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp. I felt this really worked. This is the kind of thing which can go wrong or right, for example, seeing Snow Patrol at the M.E.N arena in March, Gary Lightbody played an acoustic of Run, and I felt it ruined the song a little bit. Run is a much more powerful song and needs to have a more full impact, and I feel it would probably have worked better with Chasing Cars. But anyway, I digress… I actually felt quite emotional watching this, and in a wierd way transfixed by the amount of camera flashes there were going off (clearly I wasn’t the only one!).

To finish the main set they played Chant No.1, Paint Me Down and True (better known to some as ‘The M&S music’!)

I liked what they did with chant No.1 and Paint Me Down. They performed them in a sort of medley, Paint Me Down interrupted Chant No.1 half way through. I liked this because I had thought that the two songs were very similar, so they flowed nicely into each other, and they certainly got the crowd going.P1050611

Finishing the main set with True was hardly surprising as it is one of their biggest hits. So obviously this got a great response from the audience. They had some lovely graphics on the screen accompanied by the effect of starlight.

I must say my main criticism really is that they often left very big pauses between lines in songs. It was almost like watching the Big Brother final! I understand why they did this of course – to build tension with the audience, but I did feel that on a couple of occasions they just left it too long and any tension they had built up was lost. During Fight For Ourselves (the first song of the encore) the audience didn’t know what to do. There was this big pause and silence from the audience! We started applauding because we thought it must be the end of the song!

And finally, of course, they finished with Gold. Another slight case of pause syndrome before the first chorus (but by no means a main offender!). This obviously got the greatest reaction of the night – and a well deserved one!

So, have Spandau Ballet still got it? yes! This was a much enjoyed night out, and Spandau Ballet definitely know how to put on a show which is an art that so many bands these days fail to do! I would definitely recommend you to buy tickets for this tour if you have not seen it already. And to all you nay sayers – Spandau Ballet are back!

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