Saturday, March 18
Midge Ure played an amazing show just a couple of years ago – rolling through all the hits and a few obscurities, charming and funny with his banter. Sometimes, the repeat visit is a tall order, tough to match up to that first experience. But the fans were certainly happy to see him again – this time flanked by Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe of India Electric Company (also the evening’s support act).
The aim of this tour – as with the last – was to offer the veritable “Something From Everything” – or thereabouts; something from almost all of the studio albums Ure has been involved with across the years. More simply this means music from his solo career, from Visage and of course from Ultravox. His time in Thin Lizzy was briefly referenced but not represented, a song in tribute to Phil Lynott, and written in the style of the early Lizzy – Midge Ure was only fleetingly part of the group. Ditto, his time short-lived group, Rich Kids.
It certainly wasn’t a case of just repeating the songs in the same order – clearly the setlist changes night to night, but also it was very different to the previous tour. Solo smash hit If I Was, a crowd favourite and obvious singalong, was trotted out as the third song of the night. And hugely appreciated.
The use of mandolin meant there was a rhythmic thrust to many of the tunes and the violin draped the melodies across Ure’s under-pinning acoustic guitar.
Maybe there was a mid-set lull, maybe. But most of the audience were dangling on the end of the hook still – and as we heard from Visage (The Damned Don’t Cry) and more from Ultravox (Reap The Wild Wind, Lament) the energy never really faltered. Ure was self-aware, self-effacing at times and as great as the banter was he also knew when to sit back and just roll out a few songs in a row.
Though it was never going to be as exciting as seeing him the first time there was something very clever about the use of the supporting musicians. Particularly in the recreation of those new romantic gems. The one-two of Vienna and Fade to Grey was impressive last time, handled just on solo guitar – two songs you’d never think would wow crowds in such a stripped-back arrangement but here the violin sought to recreate – with replicating – the synth lines on the original recordings; a nice twist given the synths on the recorded arrangements where there to approximate the feel of string parts.