Monday, April 26, 2010
Spandau Ballet in Australia - Review April 23rd 2010 Sydney
That isn't to take away from whatever pleasure was to be had with them – and I'm not even talking about the kilts when they were synthy New Romantics, the unfeasibly deep tans when they were Harry High Pants funksters or the "right classy innit" double-breasted suits nearer the end, before they became "rock". Though even thinking about that never fails to make me giggle.
Fair's fair: a show which starts brilliantly with the silly but still punchy synth dance of To Cut a Long Story Short ("questions, questions, give me no answers") and soon after offers up the almost as funky if more stupid Highly Strung ("she used to be a diplomat/now she's down the laundromat") and can finish two hours later with the soul schmaltz of True ("I bought a ticket to the world/now I've come back again") and the high cheese count of Gold ("Always believe in your soul/you've got the power to know/you're indestructible") may have tosh – and tosh with awful lyrics – but it's tosh you find it very hard not to sing along with.
Actually, if you've seen both Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet in reformation tours in recent years you can't miss the world of difference between the two relics. For a start, Spandau Ballet have a frontman who, while these days looking like Blocker Roach (though in a well-cut suit you wouldn't find ... at Lowes), can actually sing, powerfully and well. Then while the Brummies struggle to string together two good songs, these Londoners can play extremely well and give you five or six more than tolerable tunes – not least of them Chant No. 1. That's even allowing for a long and painfully dull section mid-show where they went earnest rock band on us, proving they need that element of mockery to hover around.
And unlike any number of reformation tours, such as Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles or the Pixies, this is a band who actually seem to like each other again and couldn't be happier to be here getting this kind of unbridled, gushing love.
So yeah, we can laugh, occasionally grimace and sometimes shake our heads in disbelief, but Spandau Ballet were good. This much is true.