Just before the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia, we were treated to a very special evening with the one and only Midge Ure. Singer, songwriter, musician and producer extraordinaire, Ure is one of those super talents that I remember fondly from a very young age. Visage, Ultravox and Band Aid, the futuristic new wave music and artistic video clips, are just some of his musical endeavours that left such a lasting impression.
As I was lucky enough to see Ure on a past tour, I knew what to expect. The excitement in the venue was electric and it’s no surprise the Metro was a packed house. This is exactly what we needed, a night celebrating something happy; music with lots of singing and dancing. Due to COVID-19, we were so lucky that the rest of this tour had actually gone ahead. Thank you very much Ure, MJR Presents and all the venues involved, it must not have been an easy decision at the time.
After a great support set from local band ‘Black Halo’, Ure made his way on stage with ‘Band Electronica’ to give us our first half of Visage and Ultravox magic. ‘Yellow Pearl’, ‘Visage’ and the timeless ‘Fade To Grey’ were our first songs and just a taste of the brilliance that was still to come. Anyone who was fortunate enough to be an 80’s child, will never forget the impact that ‘Fade to Grey’ had on that era, with the fashion and make up being replicated among the teenagers and young adults of the day. Wild and colourful, experimentative and absolute, it is hard to believe that this was 40 years ago, and also 40 years since Ultravox released the stunning ‘Vienna’ album, which was being played in full right after our Visage snack. The Metro was just entranced as each track was performed. Ure and band are flawless as we went from ‘Astradyne’, ‘New Europeans’ to ‘Private Lives’ and ‘Passing Strangers’, what a joy to hear this music live. Electro synth interwoven with classical, the atmosphere across the venue, as every fan danced and reveled, is a night we will never forget.
Moving from ‘Sleepwalk’, the Kraftwerk-ish ‘Mr X’ and ‘Western Promise’, until we reach another masterpiece in ‘Vienna’. You hear those first few bars of that bass riff, with the calm of Ure’s voice, and you appreciate ‘Vienna’ even more hearing it live. I hear perfection coming from the stage. I close my eyes and it’s a 3D world of layered instruments and sounds. There’s even a quick visual of Ure’s sexy 70’s moustache from the video clip making its way across my mind. Funny how I still don’t mind that moustache all these years later. Ure’s vocals are powerful and controlled, like all these decades have barely passed. We then finish the ‘Vienna’ album with a thundering version of ‘All Stood Still’ and applause fills the air once again.
So many gems still to come but it’s time for the very successful Ure solo track ‘If I Was’, which just gives us another excuse to dance and sing with abandon. The poignant words and melody obviously remembered well, as I glance over at many fans reciting the lyrics with precision! Well done Sydney, you brought your very fun and adventurous selves out to this unique gig tonight.
The Metro is pumping as we hear ‘Glorious’ and ‘I Remember (Death In The Afternoon)’ before we are spoilt with a run of more superb Ultravox songs. The dreamy ‘Reap The Wild Wind’ slowly pulls us into a time machine of 80’s bliss, and then it’s another favourite ‘Love’s Great Adventure’. I look around and those dancing shoes have more than come out now. How could you not move, with such delightful songs as these? Up next is yet another beloved tune from the era, ‘Dancing With Tears In My Eyes’. What heaven we are all in now, with Ure and band more than in their element, delivering these distinctive Ultravox sounds that take you away to a place of sheer musical and aural pleasure. The sweat is well and truly dripping on us all, as we reach yet another level when the Metro erupts with more applause. It’s encore time. How did that happen so quickly? No one is moving and I’m doing a quick mental check list of all the other songs I would love to hear.
Then it starts, ‘The Voice’, well what an understatement! Ure’s vocals have been more than brilliant tonight. You would have no idea that he’s now in his mid 60’s, looking fab and still performing with such a high standard. The venue is beyond satisfied, with wide smiles and knowing nods making the rounds among the faithful. It’s been such a wonderful gig with a great crowd, Ure could finish the night with many other songs, but when you hear the quiet lyrics begin ‘Give us, this day…’, it’s on for young and old. It’s electro synth/pop decadence at its finest, and to finish the night with the glorious ‘Hymn’ is the perfect cherry on top of our Midge Ure smorgasbord.
More applause fills the air as Ure and band are celebrated once again before we all head off into the city, unaware of the drastic changes to our lives that lie ahead. To have a pre-lockdown night of Midge Ure magnificence will surely keep us all going until we are once again allowed to let loose with live music, and I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would rather have been.
© MARINA KNEZEVIC 2020. All rights reserved.
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