Tag Archives: live concert

➤ Truly a once in a lifetime evening of pure joy with David Byrne

Q MAGAZINE’S REVIEW SAID: “This unprecedented mindmeld of modern dance, avant-garde theatre, art installation, soul revue and carnival parade makes the conventional rock show seem as old-fashioned as music hall. Most artists don’t get to reinvent the pop concert once in a lifetime. Byrne has done it twice.” Here’s a brief taste of David Byrne’s sensational American Utopia world tour which during 2018 has played 13 dates in the UK (London, Brighton, Nottingham and Manchester this week) and moves on through Europe to Australia. These innovative concerts have won unprecedented rave reviews from critics on national newspapers and music press: “mind-blowingly meticulous and awe-inspiring”, “arguably the most acclaimed live shows of the year”, “the best live show of all time”. All true IMHO. Byrne’s 22 numbers were drawn from this year’s critically acclaimed album American Utopia, as well as classics from his solo career and the 1970s with the mould-breaking Talking Heads. All were choreographed to create a continuous visual and musical river of rhythm.

We’re happy to borrow the video above, shot by Cazza Gee close-up to the stage at London’s Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith (20.6.18) to convey the joyous free-form energy of the staging by Byrne and his 11-strong band.

'American Utopia', UK tour, dance, David Byrne, live concert, musicians, Talking Heads, rock music, social commentary

American Utopia: David Byrne with his nimble barefooted 11-strong band, heavily biased towards percussion. Photo by Andrew Whitton

➢ Former Blitz Kid and singer Andy Polaris reviews Byrne’s show in full at his own website, but here are his highlights. . .

The glowing five-star international reviews for David Byrne’s ‘American Utopia’ tour 2018 meant there was genuine and palpable anticipation surging through the 4,000-strong audience packed into the Brighton Centre this week.

The set opened with a vast empty stage, only a small table and chair with a grey-haired casually suited Byrne seated and singing to a plastic brain which he held aloft. He looked like the coolest science teacher explaining its merits, albeit barefoot and to a much more appreciative adult-education class. He was joined onstage by similarly attired backing vocalists Chris Giarmo and Tendayi Kuumba who we quickly realised, along with the rest of the 11-piece band, were agile in their dual role as musicians and dancers. It was the realisation that with Annie-B Parson’s sophisticated and at times elaborate choreography (especially for the backing vocalists) this was far from standard fare. I then remembered the work Byrne did with dancer Twyla Tharp in the 1980s, and realised this show has become a logical next step in the imaginative presentation of his eclectic catalogue. . .

The standouts were many but the surreal when released ‘Once In A Lifetime’ crackled with almost evangelical zeal as Byrne flung himself around on-stage… Against giant dancing shadows like a Busby Berkeley musical number, ‘Blind’ was given brassy punch and brought energetic solos from its talented percussionist pool… The opening guitar chords of ‘Burning Down the House’ did exactly what it said on the label… ‘Everybody’s Coming To My House’ exuded an inclusive party feel which Byrne explained was also matched by his band’s origins from all around the world. Personally I loved ‘Born Under Punches’ and ‘The Great Curve’ because ‘Remain in Light’ is one of my favourite albums. . . / Continued at apolarisview

'American Utopia', UK tour, dance, David Byrne, live concert, musicians, Talking Heads, rock music, social commentary

American Utopia: David Byrne’s troupe cast dancing shadows during the Talking Heads song Blind. Photo by Andrew Whitton


➢ Dorian Lynskey for Q magazine joins the tour in Paris and talks to the former Talking Heads singer about its genesis

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2016 ➤ On film: two electrifying hours of The Beatles as they’ve never been seen and heard

The Beatles, Eight Days a Week, Ron Howard, documentary, film, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison, Swinging Sixties, live concert, vintage, pop music, Shea Stadium, touring,

Pristine footage: The Beatles play Shea Stadium in August 1965. (Image: SubaFilms)

LAST NIGHT AT A LONDON CINEMA I saw the most exciting live pop concert since the same band played live in the Swinging Sixties. Ron Howard’s new Beatles documentary, Eight Days A Week about the touring years 1963-66, is a sensational feast of long-lost performance footage that confronts us with the Fab Four’s raw onstage energy and pounding tempo – the audio as gorgeously restored as the images. This two-hour celebration of Beatle genius goes behind the clichés of hysteria to give us Access All Areas. It delivers one revelation after another, from Paul’s “Oh-my-God” moment when Ringo joined the band, to the jaw-dropping recording of a top-ten single in 90 minutes of studio time, to their 1964 triumph for civil rights when the band refused to tour in the US until audience segregation was abandoned at their venues.

New interviews from Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney keep dropping gems of insight about this the most commercially successful group in pop history, while vintage footage does as much justice to lippy John Lennon and “quiet” George Harrison who are no longer with us.

Throughout this joyous moptops-into-men odyssey we’re wide-eyed at the sheer cheek of these multimedia superstars, aged between 19 and 22, who created their own interview style by pinging back witty ad-libs to questions from the world’s media. The downside was mass hysteria from teenaged babyboom fans laying siege to hotels and airports where they repeatedly overwhelmed police and security on an often scarifying scale.

Beatle albums sat at No 1 in the charts for 20 to 30 weeks at a time – more No 1 albums than any other musical act. Their 20 No 1 hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart remain unchallenged.

The Beatles, Eight Days a Week, Ron Howard, documentary, film, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison, Swinging Sixties, live concert, vintage, pop music, Shea Stadium, touring,

Ron Howard with Paul and Ringo this week: “I love this photo that was taken yesterday at Abbey Road Studios in historic Studio 2 while we were promoting The Beatles: Eight Days a Week”

Everything The Beatles did was without precedent. Among their innovations they launched arena rock and at Shea Stadium Howard’s doc ensures that we hear George’s guitar chords above the screaming audience of 55,000 fans. As a shock reminder of Sixties technology, Vox had built three new amps for the Beatles, each souped up to 100 watts (!!!) specially for touring America, their output being relayed via microphones to feed the stadium’s tinny loudspeaker system!!!

It is a breath-taking source of inspiration to know that during The Beatles’ far from meteoric early years, this Liverpudlian band of brothers had played at least 456 live gigs before signing their recording contract with EMI. Yes, 456 !!! With that amount of practice, it should be no surprise to find that their legacy amounts to 237 original compositions – songs which most people on the planet can hum, while the most radical among them personify the Sixties counterculture. As the best-selling band in history, the Fabs revolutionised all of music for ever.

Howard’s previous reality epics include the wonderful Apollo 13 and the gripping joust, Frost/Nixon. This week he told The Guardian: “I began to think of the Beatles story as like Das Boot: they’re in it together, they have each other, they know what their objective is, but, y’know, it’s a dangerous world out there.”

WHAT THE PRESS ARE SAYING

➢ Ron Howard trashes the idea that there’s nothing new to say about the Beatles – The Guardian:
This is about the Beatles as live phenomenon, and the fact that their music was all the more remarkable because it had to be heard above the scream – that ambient sound of sex, excitement and modernity, mixed in with a thin chirrup of press envy. The scream was an important part of it. . . an almost unbroken four-year, semi-improvised multimedia performance for which there was no pre-existing template – not simply the music but the giant public spectacle and public scrutiny.

➢ 10 Things we learned from Eight Days a Week
– Rolling Stone:

In February 1964, the band and their entourage occupied nearly the entire 12th floor of the Plaza NYC, including the 10-room presidential suite. But despite the space, the four friends retired to smaller quarters. “The four of us ended up in the bathroom just to get a break from the incredible pressure,” Starr says.

➢ “We were force-grown, like rhubarb,” says John Lennon
– Daily Telegraph:

The film shrewdly draws a line between the Beatles’ mischievous sense of humour and their long-time producer George Martin’s earlier life recording alternative comedy. Martin had worked with the Goons, an enormous influence on the band’s growing lyrical eccentricity in that period, as well as their off-the-cuff ribbing of strait-laced reporters.

REMASTERED UK FOOTAGE, MANCHESTER 1963

Previously at Shapers of the 80s:

➢ No wonder The Beatles changed the shape of music after 456 sessions practising in public

➢ 1963, With The Beatles the day Kennedy was shot: “The second house was distinctly more subdued”

➢ 1966, More popular than Jesus: the fascinating Lennon interview in full

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➤ The non-Bowie tribute super-duper group Holy Holy to stage The Man Who Sold The World

Tony Visconti, Woody Woodmansey , Holy Holy, The Man Who Sold The World,David Bowie,album, live concert,UK, pop music

TMWSTW: Bowie’s ambitious album to be updated in live performance by Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey’s band Holy Holy

➢ David Bowie’s website announces:
Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey perform David Bowie’s classic The Man Who Sold the World album with supergroup Holy Holy. Keep reading for further details of this and Holy Holy’s debut 45 with a Bowie cover on the B-side, not to mention a few words from a clearly excited Tony and Woody regarding the event. [Today’s update: After the Sept 17 London gig, a second performance is announced for Sheffield, Sept 18.]

David Bowie’s seminal album The Man Who Sold the World, produced by Tony Visconti, was recorded in 1970. It is unusually sonically heavy and dystopian for a Bowie album, with lyrical themes including annihilation and a totalitarian machine. The sound combines riff-laden heavy rock with futurist synth sounds and Visconti’s innovative production techniques.

Tony Visconti says: “I’ve rarely played anything as ambitious and demanding as the music of that great batch of songs conceived by David Bowie. With Woody Woodmansey and Mick Ronson, two of the finest musicians I’ve had the pleasure of recording and playing with, we set out to create something both new and classic, we called it our Sgt. Pepper. David gave us a chance to bring our unique talents to the table and we made up our parts within David’s framework. Mick forced me to listen to Jack Bruce, however, and told me ‘That’s what great bass playing was all about’. I got it, lead bass playing – as a guitarist this came natural to me. With David as our charismatic frontman we were Young Turks determined to spin heads and change the world of music… / Continued at davidbowie.com

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Holy Holy at Peckham Liberal Club last December: Malcolm Doherty on guitar and Steve Norman on sax. Photograph © Marilyn Kingwill

➢ A few tickets remain for Holy Holy’s TMWSTW on Sept 17 at The Garage, London
➢ Buy tickets for Holy Holy’s second performance on Sept 18 at the O2 Academy, Sheffield
➢ Update 5 June: more dates added, for Glasgow and Shepherd’s Bush Empire, plus a live discussion about the Bowie album at the ICA

Tony Visconti on bass, and Woody Woodmansey on drums, will be joined by this stellar Holy Holy line-up:
Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), lead vocals
Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet), sax, guitar, percussion and vocals
Erdal Kizilcay (David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Freddie Mercury), keyboards and vocals
James Stevenson (Generation X, Scott Walker, Gene Loves Jezebel), guitar
Paul Cuddeford (Ian Hunter, Bob Geldof), guitar
Rod Melvin (Ian Dury, Brian Eno), piano
Malcolm Doherty (Rumer), 12-string guitar and vocals
Lisa Ronson (A Secret History), vocals
Maggi Ronson backing vocals and recorder
Hannah Berridge Ronson backing vocals, recorder and keyboards

➢ Bowie collaborators Woody Woodmansey and Tony Visconti will lead a 12-strong ensemble, says The Guardian:
Woodmansey said the time was right to revive the album that first brought him, Visconti and Bowie together, and that it would be a fitting tribute to Mick Ronson, the guitarist and musical genius behind Bowie’s most successful run of albums, who died in 1993. The Man Who Sold the World was the first album Mick Ronson and I played on, our first even in a proper London studio, yet it never got played live,” Woodmansey said. “It was the forerunner of what we could do sound-wise, and we just let rip. We spent three weeks recording [it] because we were creating the songs as we went… / Continued at Guardian Online

David Bowie, Mick Ronson, 1971,

The day they signed the deal for Hunky Dory in 1971… In a band called Hype, Bowie, Visconti and Ronson (right) created a sound that led to The Man Who Sold the World. And that meant the future was hunky-dory

➢ At Facebook Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman confirms: “And if that’s not enough, there’s a brand new track scheduled for release on the day of the gig, We Are King. I can’t wait!” A little bird says Steve himself wrote it as the Holy Holy debut single, backed with their cover version of Bowie’s Holy Holy.

❑ Not forgetting possibly the definitive performance of the title track The Man Who, with Klaus Nomi. This thrillingly exact video is (for rights reasons) available to view only in the V&A’s touring exhibition, Bowie Is, which is currently at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany, until August 10, later visiting Chicago and next year Paris.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Bowie drags up in the Mr Fish “man-dress” that appears on the sleeve for The Man Who Sold The World

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: How Bowie defined the difference between glam and glitter

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➤ Spandau confirms one-off live reunion gig in Texas – for a tiny elite!

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Parade’s 30th birthday celebration! In 1984 the fourth studio album by Spandau Ballet yielded two UK Top 10 hits, Only When You Leave and I’ll Fly for You. It introduced the imagery of artist David Band which became the band’s leitmotif

FEB 12 – UPDATE FROM SPANDAU BALLET

Spandau Ballet (Official) – “Awesome Spandau meeting yesterday! 2014 and 2015 are shaping up rather nicely”

FEB 14 – BIG TONE TO HIT THE ROAD

Tickets go on sale for Spandau singer Tony Hadley’s 10-stop UK tour in October, once again with a full orchestra, climaxing at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane

FEB 20 – LIVE REUNION GIG CONFIRMED

Gary Kemp says – “We’re in rehearsals next week!”

❚ SPANDAU BALLET WILL PLAY TOGETHER on March 12 – their first live date in North America since 1985. On the same day that their biopic Soul Boys of the Western World premieres in Austin, Texas, the five Angel Boys will later perform at the Vulcan Gas Company on E 6th Street, a refurbished new entertainment space named after a psychedelic venue from the hippie 60s. It will host 20 gigs during the massive SXSW new-media conference and its music and film festivals.

entertainment

The new Vulcan in Austin: a steam-punk interior and cutting-edge sounds

What will stymie hordes of Spandau’s hopeful American fans is that a registered Music Badge to attend SXSW costs $750 and, even then, does not guarantee admission to specific events.  Platinum and Gold conference delegates are given priority admission before Music and Film Badge holders. Also, the new Vulcan with “an industrial steam-punk feel” is a modest venue – with a typical capacity of 535 – so spare tickets are likely to be thin on the ground. The Festival operates a Queue Card system with updates online, via Venue Status Boards and @sxsw on Twitter. However, before travelling to Austin, Spandau fans are advised to ensure they have secured a ticket (see the comment from SXSW, below). Hints from the Spandau team suggest there may be more news soon.

Elsewhere on the same evening the UK singer Damon Albarn is performing at one of Austin’s 100 venues that stage live music nightly – the town does claim to be the “Live Music Capital of the World”. For three years from 1967 the Vulcan Gas Company on Congress Avenue became its first successful psychedelic music venue, featuring Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat, Muddy Waters and other greats, then morphing into the Armadillo World Headquarters with a broader musical bill that embraced Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler, blues and jazz.

Jimi Hendrix , Johnny Winter, music, Vulcan Gas Company

The original Vulcan on Congress Avenue with its notorious drainpipe backdrop: Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Winter playing in 1968

Now in the 30th anniversary year of Spandau Ballet’s fourth album, Parade, one of Britain’s iconic supergroups of the 80s returns to the States.

Tony, Gary, Martin, Steve and John will be flying in to attend the 2pm premiere of their archive-only documentary film, Soul Boys of The Western World. Songwriter Gary Kemp says: “We had the idea because we have a good story and the story has a real arc. It’s about friendship, kids who come from the shadows of the Second World War growing up in the 60s and 70s, a period of great rock music from David Bowie and glam rock. They go through the whole punk experience and then had the experience of the whole New Romantic scene of working-class kids dressing up and doing things that were outrageous against a recession.”

ENTRY TO SXSW EVENTS CANNOT BE GUARANTEED

❏ SXSW says: “As far as films go, tickets will be for sale at the door after delegates with badges and wristbands are seated, if there is room. For the music portion of the event, the situation is very similar. There will most likely be tickets for sale at the door but it varies from venue to venue. After badges and wristband holders are admitted, tickets may be sold if capacity allows. Our best advice is to get to the venue early or contact them to see if they will be selling tickets at the door and also see how long the wristband/badge lines are to judge if you could even get in.”

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Video gems unearthed by the Spandau Ballet documentary movie

Spandau Ballet,1984,pop music,reunion,Blitz Kids, New Romantics,, Parade, album

2014… Spandau Ballet’s next parade is about to begin!

FIRST REACTIONS FROM THE FANS

Jennifer Schmaltz Robbers Aw, this is so bittersweet! It would be great if you guys could add another show outside of SXSW. It will be hard for a lot of your US fans to swing the SXSW pass.

Ricky Resurreccion $795 for a music badge???? My wife and I huge fans from California and she’d die to see you guys perform. Come on, Gary, help us out here!

Molly Fanton It better be a US tour. Come on guys come to Buffalo, Boston or NYC. I so want to see you guys.

Shell Stringer When are Spandau Ballet going to tour round more local places? Come to The Dome, Doncaster please :-)))

Carlos Hidalgo Regular Sud America

Christine Turner Hopefully another tour Down Under.

Tony Baker Get your sens darn to the Echo @ Liverpool lads

Brigitte Supercan We want you in Italy very soon please

Catriona Stokes Please come to Dublin again, you were fab in 2009 xx

Gregg Daniell Toronto. Canada would live to have you.

Debbie Meyers Praying for anywhere in the USA

Cecy Blue Pax We want a Spandau Ballet concert in South America too

Cristina Martínez Queralt Barcelona waiting for you

Layne Wheeler ok, about that meeting. when are you coming over to the states, anywhere over the atlantic, the wife and I AND our friends will come see you… here is a incentive… I will cook!!

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2012 ➤ Adam Ant: sex, subversion, style, humour but don’t nobble me as a New Romantic

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Adam Ant: intensely serious. (Photograph newly posted at Facebook)

➢ Adam Ant, Dandy in the Underworld is a retrospective photographic exhibition at Proud Galleries in London, being launched with a charity performance by Adam and band on March 6, 2012. Hence a superbly considered interview with Decca Aitkenhead in today’s Guardian about surviving stardom, dealing with bipolar disorder and stuff…

Ant still gets annoyed when anyone muddles him up with the early 80s New Romantic scene: “Cos New Romantic was nothing to do with Adam and the Ants. The Ants was a punk band, or a post-punk band if anything, and so historically it’s inaccurate. New Romantic was basically, in my mind, clubbers with too much makeup on with stupid clothes. I never set foot in any of their clubs, so I find it quite distressing to be nobbled into New Romantic, cos it was just a load of guys who looked like they’d had a row with their girlfriends’ makeup. There was nothing tough about it, nothing dangerous about it, it was soft electro stuff and it just looked a bit wet. And I didn’t like being associated with it.”

A man of 58 who still cares this much should probably come across as faintly ridiculous, but the intense seriousness with which Ant deconstructs these arcane distinctions conveys an impression of almost heartbreaking vulnerability… / continued online

“ I never set foot in the f***ing Blitz [club]
– I WOULD HAVE BOMBED IT ”

Adam Ant drawing his line in the sand with
the New Romantics
(Clink magazine, 23 March 2011)

MORE ON ADAM AT SHAPERSOFTHE80S

➢ 1981, How Adam stomped his way across the charts with six records in the same month to thwart the nascent New Romantics:

Adam Ant, Jordan, Jubilee, 1977

Instinctive punks, 1977: Adam and Jordan at the premiere for Jubilee

Shapersofthe80s has always drawn a clear distinction between Adam Ant and the New Romantics. As does Marco Pirroni, the Ants guitarist and co-writer of many of their hits. “Adam is glam-punk,” he told me emphatically at the bar of the Wag when Ant’s first solo single Puss ’n Boots was storming the chart in Oct 1983. “Americans don’t understand he was never a New Romantic.”

As if proof were needed, just gawp at the way Adam goes hoppity-skippiting through the video to Antmusic. The rent-a-crowd extras must have been the least stylish Londoners within earshot of the Blitz club. Gawp again at how these kids can’t dance either!

Yes of course Kings of the Wild Frontier went on to become one of the great slapstick albums of its time. No dispute. And with characters like Prince Charming and Puss ’n Boots, Adam treated us to year-round pantomime.

➢ Adam and Marco in battle of the bands — How I wrote Stand and Deliver, plus the early days of Ant music, plus all about Marco

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