Monday, April 26, 2010

Spandau Ballet in Australia - Review April 23rd 2010 Sydney

THERE was always a whiff of mockery around Spandau Ballet. Back in the glossy '80s, along with the likes of Duran Duran in particular, Spandau Ballet would teeter on, and sometimes jump over, the edge of ridiculousness.

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.



  1. Hi there, thought this looked right up your alley. Classic Albums Live presents Dire Straits Brothers In Arms - a tribute to one of the classic albums of all times!

    Its a great concept where by you go online to the web address below and vote for your classic album to be played each year by some of Australias finest musicians. This years album is Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms. It would be awesome if you could check it out.

  2. Saw both Spandau and Duran last time they toured Australia and both were fantastic, in my opinion. (As was Tears for Fears at the former... Aside from Curt's singing.)