Spring has commenced and Sydney has slowly been warming up as we approach summer. However, when Tony Hadley hits town, things heat up considerably more! There was such anticipation for this gig, the local area was already bustling long before Hadley was due on stage. The Enmore Theatre, aglow after a recent refurbishment, was packed as fans mingled, anxiously waiting for the show to begin.
Celebrating a phenomenal 40 years in music, Hadley has achieved what few people can: the longevity of a successful career while keeping those God-blessed vocal cords in mint condition. It must be his favourite tipple that keeps those pipes in glorious form. We are so fortunate that, after all these years, we still get the chance to spend a couple of delightful hours together.
Local talent Amber Lawrence was our support act. Hers was a fun and entertaining set that well and truly worked the crowd up for Hadley to take us into his world of music. The air switched to ‘giddy’ for many of the female fans as Lawrence wrapped up her performance. I noticed multiple generations in attendance. Lots of happy women awaiting their childhood crush and, of course, many men too, who just have good taste. Hadley is a renowned and brilliant live performer; we knew exactly what we were in for tonight.
As the stage lit up and Tony appeared with his TH Band, it was finally time to indulge in his power vocals and dominant stage presence. With a swag of classic songs, there was lots of dancing and swooning. The screaming, whistling and ‘woo wooing’ had begun as we were taken back into the Spandau Ballet songs of the 1980’s with Instinction. The energy of this performance is already apparent as the crowd starts to shed any inhibitions from the get-go. Without missing a beat, it’s straight into another high-octane Spandau track, Highly Strung, then onto Oh Carol and back to Spandau Ballet’s debut track, To Cut A long Story Short, showcasing early 80’s synth at its finest. Hadley’s luscious vocals were on full display and we were in for quite a show. He is still such a dish, naturally suave and sexy, while impeccably dressed in his trademark suits.
It’s such a thrill to be with music lovers at concerts again, absorbing performances of such high calibre as Hadley, a true showman who loves performing and radiates on stage. Hadley and his band are flawless, with a great camaraderie, as they effortlessly glide from track to track whilst Hadley chats between certain songs and holds the crowd’s attention. One of many personal favourites, the saucy Only When You Leave is next. I must admit, some butterflies began to stir as Hadley’s incomparable voice just booms across the venue. It is remarkable that he can belt out those Spandau Ballet songs, in the same fashion, after all these years, and Sydney had come out in full force to lap it all up.
Communication is up next, then Obvious also makes the cut tonight, as does the gorgeous I’ll Fly For You. This is where the word ‘swoon’ needs to be inserted once again. Gosh, it just makes one melt, and the fans here are like putty in the palm of Hadley’s hands. Hearing ‘Love You Tony!!!!’ being screamed is de rigueur at a Tony Hadley gig, and it is totally understandable why he generates such reactions from people. His layered vocals are rich and sensuous and hark to a time when a voice was genuinely a voice, when artists actually needed pure talent to succeed. This is the very reason why a performer like Hadley is still selling out venues across the globe.
Tonight’s set list weaves us a wonderful story that celebrates Hadley’s musical magic across the last four decades. Describing the fans as ‘grinning from ear to ear’ is an understatement as Round and Round follows, then Lost In Your Love, Soul Boy and Because Of You. The hauntingly lovely Through the Barricades and Tonight Belongs To Us hold us in awe, until we are taken back up-tempo with some more 80’s deliciousness as Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On) gets the crowd revved up. I spy some dancing in the aisles as the lights flicker and pulsate, and even though there are at least 1500 of us here tonight, this show feels quite intimate as Hadley draws you in and makes you feel like you are a part of his own little club.
Mad About You and Lifeline lead us into another Spandau Ballet classic, True. This often-sampled ballad has the entire theatre swaying and singing along, word for word. The sheer quality of tonight’s entertainment, and depth of vocal skill, is on a level all its own. I cannot believe the time has flown by so quickly as we are already up to the first standing ovation, mixed with deafening screams, that leads into our encore. The venue is erupting and no one is leaving. I check my notes and realise I’ve been so caught up in the show that I’ve scribbled only slightly legible words. Luckily for me, I’m no stranger to the accomplished Hadley and his extensive catalogue.
Hadley and band make their way back on stage, beginning our encore with jazz number One For My Baby displaying his versatility, as the room transforms into a sultry bar for a few minutes. So comfortable is Hadley with performing, it is so obvious that he still really enjoys what he does. This is what really brings his shows to life and gives him an edge. The anticipation for our last song is no surprise as the iconic Gold thunders through the theatre as Hadley hammers and holds those long notes with ease. As we head into a second ovation, the Enmore Theatre is lit up and every fan holds onto the last moments of this cracking show.
Charming us once again with his exuberant and lively stage presence, Hadley, along with his band, was an absolute pleasure, and it was pure bliss to observe a performer who loves what he does and enjoys the crowd. Hadley is one of the finest male vocalists of all time and it was such a treat to celebrate this latest milestone with him on his current Australian tour. Hadley mentioned that future tours are already crossing his mind. At least we have that to hold onto, until next time!
© 2022 MARINA KNEZEVIC (All Rights Reserved)