Tony Hadley at the Royal Albert Hall
If one tries to list the most iconic – or perhaps kitschiest – music acts of the 1980s, the New Romantic synthpop group Spandau Ballet invariably can be found mentioned alongside other cult icons such as Duran Duran, T’Pau and Samantha Fox. The power-dressing quintet with their brand of croony – sometimes dramatic, often soppy – electronic music seem to perfectly encapsulate the notorious “decade of excess”.
Lead singer Tony Hadley, who is about to embark on a European tour for his upcoming album, came to the Royal Albert Hall on Monday night with Spandau’s catalogue underarm – sans fellow Spandau band members – and delivered an energetic and expertly sung performance of their classics, as well as a series of crowd-pleasing favourites from the same period by other artists. His new wave Frank Sinatra-esque, on-stage persona, together with his powerful, soul voice and old-fashioned way of flirting with the audience render him somewhat of an 80s Tom Jones, which fits perfectly with his music, accompanied for the evening by the Southbank Sinfonia.
The concert, split into two parts, opened with David Bowie’s Life on Mars, a reminder of Bowie’s influence on glam rock, punk and new wave of which Spandau Ballet are a product, and continued with Somebody to Love by Queen and Do It for Love by Hall and Oates – sung together with guest singer Shane Richie. He also threw in a rousing, music-hall version of The Killers’ Somebody Told Me, the only song not to have coexisted on the charts when these guys ruled the billboard. The second half kicked off with Highly Strung, Only When You Leave and Round and Round from 1984’s Parade, coaxing the audience to their feet who would remain standing for the remainder of the show, dancing and singing along to Through the Barricades and Lifeline before being rewarded with the irresistibly seductive True and the James Bond-sounding Gold. The show, beautifully performed by all (but perhaps a bit too long), was brought finally to a close with the adequately chosen My Way by Sinatra. It was an evening first and foremost for the fans, but the appeal of many of Spandau Ballet’s hits, such as those from their heyday with the album True, performed effortlessly last night by Tony Hadley’s ageless voice, prove that they still are able to garner new fans.
Photos: Guifre de Peray
For further information about Tony Hadley and future events visit here.
Watch the video for True here: