Silver Spandau pure Gold

Spandau Ballet
Spandau Ballet
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Spandau Ballet

Manchester Arena

Few bands represent a decade so well as Spandau Ballet do the 1980s.

The five likely London lads turned from barrow boys into Blitz baroque with their extravagant kilts, pantaloons, sultry soul and barrowloads of attitude to boot.

They created new romantic music that turned into timeless pop classics and looked like they would stay around forever.

Unfortunately, they soon realised that like much that glittered in the 80s it wasn’t gold, and they quickly imploded into back biting, in-fighting and a bitter and expensive court case.

Thankfully, a couple of decades later they have kissed and made up.

Their Soul Boys of the Western World concert at Manchester was a masterclass for young whippersnappers into showmanship and subtle staging.

Thankfully their set comprised mainly of them trawling through their extensive back catalogue of sing-along-with Spandau hits.

There were many highlights but Chant No.1, Only When You Leave and True really hit the heights.

There were a few new numbers thrown in that were tuneful if not instantly memorable but, to be honest, we were all there for their standards – and they didn’t disappoint.

The years have been pretty kind to the Ballet boys.

In particularly, Martin Kemp who has turned into a silver fox much to the delight of his adoring female fans, while Tony Hadley finally fits his XL sharp suit with his swagger and velvet voice.

Steve Norman’s sharp saxophone was the cement that held the sound together in memorable style on many of the hits – especially the new number - Steal.

The crowd, like the band, has aged too. Although in many cases not quite as well...

There was a lot of uninhibited/drunk dad-dancing and sashaying in the aisles, and when Tony and Gary joined them at the back of the hall for a couple of numbers a full scale party broke out.

At times the show seemed a little like a tribute to their former friend Steve Strange who sadly died recently.

Under a giant glitter ball they played a medley of club tracks, while earlier, Steve’s former Blitz soulmate, DJ Rusty Egan, warmed up the arena with a set dedicated to the Visage frontman.

The finale of Through the Barricades and Gold were both powerful and emotional, leaving the crowd hungry for more.

In concert Spandau Ballet really are True Gold.

Neil Cross