Review: Tony Hadley, classic Spandau Ballet hits, Ipswich Regent, October 7

Tony Hadley

Tony Hadley - Credit: Archant

The 1980s left us with a whole generation of pop stars, with some enduring better than others.

A couple of weeks back I was lucky enough to see Nik Kershaw perform a stripped-back set of classic hits at Bury’s Apex venue.

This week it was former Spandau Ballet frontman and fellow Live Aid alumni Tony Hadley’s turn to roll back the years in Suffolk.

While Nik took the one-man-show route, Tony went to the other extreme of the spectrum - accompanied at Ipswich’s recently-refurbished Regent Theatre by the 40-piece Southbank Sinfonia and a slick 10-strong backing band.

Opening with New York Minute by The Eagles, Tony and co moved into an unexpectedly brilliant version of Bowie classic Life on Mars.

A thumping rendition of Somebody Told Me by the Killers and some Hadley originals - including The Dice, written with his son in law - followed in a first half packed with energy and variety.

Closing it with Bridge Over Troubled Water seemed like a bold move - there’s not much that can follow on from such a bonafide pop masterpiece and not disappoint.

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The second half, however, was what most in the audience seemed to have been waiting for and was entirely comprised of a string of Spandau hits.

Kicking off with To Cut a long Story Short, the second section - with epic hits such as Through the Barricades and True - couldn’t fail. A highlight was Musclebound, which was transformed by the orchestral arrangement on the night.

There was also an exclusive treat for true Spandau fans - a first live performance of Soul Boys, one of three new tracks from the band to mark the release of new documentary Soul Boys of the Western World.

But rather as expected, it was the climactic salvo of Chant No. 1, Lifeline and Instinction that finally got the Regent crowd on its feet.

Set-closer Fight for Ourselves was well received but encore track Gold sounded, with the backing of the excellent Southbank Sinfonia, like the classic Bond theme that never was.

It was just a shame that there were so many empty seats towards the back of the stalls, but being the first night of the tour, word of mouth should help Tony, band and orchestra fill venues further down the line.

First half:

New York minute

Life on Mars

Somebody told me

Heroes and lovers

The dice

Time in a bottle

Remember me

Killer blow

Take back everything

Bridge over troubled water

Second half:

To cut a long story short

Highly strung

Only when you leave

Musclebound

Soul Boys

Round and Round

I’ll fly for you

True

Through the barricades

Toys

Chant No. 1

Lifeline

Instinction

fight for ourselves

Encore:

Gold

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