Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Graham Clark
Music Features Writer
12:07 PM 15th October 2018

Tony Hadley - Manchester Opera House

When Spandau Ballet performed their gigs in the early days it was always in special venues and not your run of the mill ones. In fact one of the very first times they visited Manchester and the north was at the Palace Theatre in 1983, which at the time was unique as no bands usually played gigs there with it being just touring theatre shows.

Fast forward 35 years to 2018 and tonight's gig feels just as much a special occasion. Tony Hadley may no longer be the lead singer of Spandau Ballet but he still has a voice that could sing the phone book and make it sound good.

As well as the Spandau back catalogue there is also his new album, Talking To The Moon, released this summer, to draw upon. He still looks good as he jokes in between one of the songs that a fan has said to him that "you don't look like you did in 1983" to which he answered back "neither do you". That's part of his appeal too - his down to earth friendliness comes across genuinely.

Backed by a talented band the percussion and saxophone parts that made the Spandau songs shine are replicated throughout the concert.

Take Back Everything, a track off the new album opens up the show, whether the title is a statement of intent I'm not sure, but it was a powerful introduction to the evening. Then it's onwards to the Spandau songs as To Cut A Long Story Short is aired, the camera phones are out, the New Romantics who are now Older Romantics are out of their seats and we could be back at the Blitz club in the early 80's.

Rather than dwell on his past the new album is well represented. He shares how "chuffed" he was when Radio 2 played the lead single, Tonight Belongs To Us and made the album the "Album of the week". The track sounds current and is a tour de force for his vocal chords.

Mid set we get the customary acoustic section with the Jim Croce cover, Time In a Bottle sounding good whilst a duet with percussionist Lily Gonzalez on the Spandau clsssic, I'll Fly For You was a set highlight. It made the hairs on your back stand up and the friendship between them made the duet work, which again came to the fore on the Number 1 worldwide hit, Gold.

The Queen cover of Somebody To Love was an unusual but well thought out inclusion whilst the white boy funk of Chant No 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On) brought a contrast to the set.

Encoring with the Marion Montgomery song, That's Life, it ended a gig of pure class from start to finish.