From left to right: Martin Kemp, Steve Norman, Gary Kemp and Tony Hadley – Spandau Ballet!
This much is true – to say I loved every second of Spandau Ballet’s first full concert in New York in 30 years is an understatement. The British quintet played a sold out show at New York’s legendary Beacon Theatre on May 2, 2015 and everything about the night was legendary.
Tony Hadley and Steve Norman
Aside from being a fan of Spandau Ballet since I was young, lead singer Tony Hadley was the first rock star I ever did a phone interview with (which you can read here and here), which is something I will probably never entirely get over, and at the time he was doing a solo tour where he exclusively added “Chant No. 1” to his setlist for readers of According2g.com! I also want to throw out there that if you can hear Tony Hadley’s cover of “Life on Mars” by David Bowie, he sings the hell out of that chours and you should really try to track it down because it’s amazing. But I digress… Seeing that show made me fall in love with Spandau Ballet all over again and I kept hope alive that they would one day tour the USA again. On May 2, all New York fans got their wish and Spandau Ballet reunited for their first show in 30 years!
Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet
If you know nothing of the group, the Spandau Ballet story has been depicted in the excellent documentary “Soul Boys of the Western World,” and in it, you’ll hear about their global success with massive hits such as “True” and “Gold,” as well as their 20 year hiatus, which saw an acrimonious break up over song royalties. They have since patched up their differences and they showed the audience exactly why they became superstars over 30 years ago.
Martin and Gary Kemp
I am not sure what magic elixir the Soul Boys have tasted from, but they look and sound better than ever. Their 2 hour set was a mutual love fest, as the audience lost their minds when the hits were played and Spandau Ballet seemed so relaxed and humbled by the response of the crowd.
Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet
Tony Hadley’s voice showed no signs of aging and as the night went on, you realize how many of their songs have extremely high notes, and Tony nailed every single one of them flawlessly, and if I may suggest it, I think Tony Hadley’s voice sounds better now than it did on the records! Songs from every stage of their career were played, from the new track “Soul Boy” to their reunion song “Once More” as well as some of their earliest songs such as “Reformation,” “Mandolin” and “The Freeze.”
Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet
The “secret weapon” of the band is Steve Norman who not only played those amazing sax solos you remember from so many Spandau hits, but he also sang back up, played guitar and percussion!
Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet
In between playing global smashes like “Communication,” “Highly Strung,” “Only When You Leave,” “To Cut A Long Story Short,” “Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On),” “Instinction,” “Lifeline,” “True” and “Gold” (which was played both acoustically and with the full band – and made the audience go absolutely bonkers both times), Tony Hadley played a bit of percussion.
Gary Kemp promised the crowd that it will not be another 30 years before we get to see Spandau Ballet perform again and I speak for all Spandau fans by saying “YES!!!!!!!” When the show was over, the audience didn’t want to see the band go, and the crowd rushed the stage and the band shook hands with members of the audience for several minutes before retreating back stage. Despite having seen Eric Clapton the night before in concert, this was the most fun I’ve had at a show in quite some time.
Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet
Thanks again to the Soul Boys for an amazing night and again, on behalf of all Spandau Ballet fans, we look forward to many more new albums and tours! PS. Original drummer John Keeble is in the band, but I had a bad vantage point to get a decent photo (despite being in the 5th row), so apologies that he is not pictured.
The setlist was: Soul Boy / Highly Strung / Only When You Leave / How Many Lies? / Round and Round / This Is the Love / Steal / Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On) / Reformation / Mandolin / Confused / The Freeze / To Cut a Long Story Short / Raw / Glow / Empty Spaces / Gold (acoustic) / Once More / I’ll Fly For You / Instinction / Communication / Lifeline / True.
Several months ago, I saw British singer Tom Odell’s first US show. I was blown away watching the 21 year old singer who at times channels Thom Yorke, Chris Martin and Tom Waits. Needless to say, I was very excited to see Tom Odell on his second trip to New York where he performed at Bowery Ballroom on May 2, 2013. The show opened with folk/rock singer Jeremy Messersmith who got the crowd in good mood with his mellow love songs (and songs about Tatooine, graveyards and organ donors!)
Go to Jeremy Messersmith’s website where you can sample his music and if you like what you hear, you can download his 4 albums for a “pay as you wish” price for a limited time. Don’t be cheap, support emerging artists!
At 10 pm, Tom Odell hit the stage and kicked off the evening with a cover of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” before launching into his soon to be hit “Hold Me.” You can see a video of the pair of tracks below. Throughout the 12 song set, Odell played piano and guitar and had a nice mix of ballads and rockers. I spotted Tony Award winner James Corden in the audience who was singing along to every song by Tom Odell. Odell also performed an awesome cover of The Beatles’ “Oh Darling,” which will hopefully be officially released because it rocked! His EP “Songs from Another Love” is out now, and you should check out his music as Tom Odell is tremendously talented. Just click play below and you’ll see what I mean.
Kylie Minogue is more than a pop princess, she’s a goddess! Her Aphrodite Les Foiles tour rolled into New York on May 2, 2011 for the first of a 3 night run, and even if you don’t care for her music, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you go see her perform. There’s great lights, visuals, costumes and of course, highly addictive dance grooves. You can see pictures, a review and the setlist here. One of the highlights of the show for me (and there were almost too many to name) was Kylie’s cover of Eurythmics’ “There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart).” You can see the video below. I had no idea she’d be performing this song, so I missed the first line. When you hear this dance version of one of my favorite Eurythmics songs, I think you’ll agree that seeing Kylie is non-negotiable when she comes to your town. Kylie plays the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on May 3 and 4, 2011 – so don’t miss it!
In 2009, when Kylie Minogue performed her first tour in the US, I left her show thinking it was one of the better shows I’d seen that year. 2 years later, Kylie Minogue is back with her Aphrodite Les Foiles Tour and it’s one of the best shows I’ve seen in 2011. Playing the first of 3 nights at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, Kylie hit the stage at a very early 8:30 PM. Gone from this tour, were Pink Floyd worthy laser lights and instead replaced with a mythological stage set up that included a golden chariot, a marble statue and a bunch of dancers with amazing bodies who all wore very little.
Kylie played so many hits in remixed versions including a rock version of “Can’t Get You Outta My Head,” a swing version of “Slow” (that finally gave way to a dance version by the end of the song) and also sang an acoustic/dance version of “The Locomotion,” – at the request of the audience. Also played were her classics such as “Better the Devil You Know,” “”I Believe In You,” “Spinning Around,” “On A Night Like This,” “Wow,” “The One” and “In My Arms.” She also focused on playing material for her latest album “Aphrodite,” including “All The Lovers,” “Get Outta My Way” and “Put Your Hands Up,” which saw the entire Hammerstein Ballroom doing just that! Kylie also did 2 covers: Eurythmics’ “There Must Be An Angel Playing With My Heart” (and a video of that is coming soon, so stay tuned) and Prefab Sprout’s “If You Don’t Love Me.”
Put Your Hands Up (if According2g.com is your favorite website)
Happy birthday to Los Angeles based street artist Dog Byte. Not much is known about the reclusive artist, but I do know that he likes The Clash and LCD Soundsystem. Perhaps the gods will smile upon us all and Dog Byte will answer a few questions some time for us. At any rate, I think his art is fantastic and I wish him a happy birthday!