Monday, 02 August 2021

Raise your glasses to a Spandau masterclass

THEY won’t want you to know, but almost all the members of Spandau Ballet are closer

THEY won’t want you to know, but almost all the members of Spandau Ballet are closer to 60 than 50.

But on the “Floating” Stage at the Henley Festival on Sunday you wouldn’t have known it.

Frontman Tony Hadley sped from side-to-side to conduct his audience whilst still singing with his timeless voice, described during the performance by bandmate Steve Norman as “one of the finest of our generation”.

Even now, almost 40 years after their breakthrough, he might have a point.

Though mid-performance Hadley did have to leave the stage for some oil for his voice box. He returned with a whiskey and coke.



His reason: “I’ve been up here for a while and been looking at you all drinking, so I decided to go and get one myself!”

“One man band” Norman was even more energetic.

He crashed his cymbals and bongos interspersed with his saxophone solos that seem almost mandatory in any Spandau number.

The band made their way through a number of tracks from their Eighties superstardom including Highly Strung, Only When You Leave and I’ll Fly For You.

Whilst the crowd was bouncy and responsive early on, spending the entirety of the performance on their feet, hysteria set in for the closing number of True followed up with an encore of iconic hits Through the Barricades and Gold.

As the audience beckoned them back, the grandstand was far more rowdy and raucous then when the British men’s eight beat the Germans on the Thames during the headline race at the Royal Regatta last week.

The hysteria and screaming is probably something Hadley, Norman, guitarists Martin and Gary Kemp as well as drummer John Keeble are used to.

Their performance deserved it.

During classics Gold and True the group could have left the singing to the crowd, but they only unhooked their microphones to jointly conduct a chorus during their final number.

Gary Kemp told the crowd as he left the stage at the end of their set: “Thank you, you lovely people, now go and enjoy yourselves.”

It’s safe to say they already had.

Review: Connor McLoughlin



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