Live Review – Midge Ure – The 1980 Tour
The Gov – Tuesday 17 March 2020
Words & Photo – Geoff Jenke
Midge Ure has been a member of bands such as Thin Lizzy, Rich Kids, Visage and of course Ultravox. He also co-wrote one of the biggest singles of all time, Do They Know It’s Christmas? along with Bob Geldof. Tonight, it was 1980 with Midge and band playing the album Vienna in its entirety.
First up though we got Yellow Pearl (used as Top of the Pops theme for most of the 1980’s in U.K.), a song recorded by Thin Lizzy front man, Phil Lynott for his 1980 solo album. Then it was into the song Visage, originally performed by the band of the same name. “Half the people don’t want to be here because they were dragged along and they only know two songs. This is one of them” announced Midge before starting Visage’s hit, Fade to Black.
Ultravox’s Vienna album had a dark, atmospheric sound to it, and at the commencement of the album, with the instrumental Astradyne, this was bought to the fore by the 3 backing musicians. The bass player often filled in on a second keyboard and the keyboard player filled in with violin. As for Midge, he alternated between keyboard/synthesiser and guitar. He donned the guitar for a fast almost brutal punk version of New Europeans.
Midge was at ease on stage, happily talking to the audience and enjoying the vibe. Passing Strangers and Sleepwalk got the audience out of their chairs, some even venturing to the front area for a closer look. The risk of playing an album in its entirety, is that there are generally a couple of tracks that don’t come across live as well as others. The robotic voiced Mr.X is one such track sounding a bit like a Kraftwerk outtake. Maybe it is just the passing of the years but it did sound a bit dated.
The opening strands of Vienna had the phones come out in mass. This is one powerful song and remains so today. The audience were happy to provide the chorus for Midge. Midge also acknowledged “that is the second song some people will know”. A glorious version of All Stood Still closed out the album, but not the set.
If I Was, Midge’s claim to solo fame still sounded as fresh today as when originally released in 1985. Midge teased us saying it was St Patrick’s Day and they should play a Thin Lizzy song, but despite a resounding acceptance with the audience, alas it was not to happen. Instead he said “I should introduce the band, although I don’t know why, they are not that good” with a big grin on his face.
Reap the Wild Wind, Love’s Great Adventure and Dancing with Tears in my Eyes rounded out the set, showing us just how good Ultravox were in the day and that Midge should be happy bringing these songs back to us in 2020.
The encore was the highlight of the evening. Midge shows us just how good his vocals are on the appropriately named song The Voice. Pure heaven. Then just when you didn’t think he could top it, out comes Hymn. Timeless.
A classic set of songs by a class entertainer, even if he didn’t play Do They Know it Is Christmas?