It’s 1983, I’m 9 years old sitting in my lounge watching British New Romantics, Spandau Ballet’s latest video “Gold” on a popular music TV show. I remember being fascinated by their smart suits and of course Tony Hadley’s voice. If you’re not too familiar with Spandau Ballet, the synthpop rockers formed in 1976 and released their debut song “To Cut a Long Story Short” in 1980. During the next three years, they ditched their frills and lipstick for smooth suits and it wasn’t until 1983 when their album “True” was release, did they become international superstars.
Now jump 32 years to the present day, I was lucky enough to see Spandau Ballet in concert at the Perth Arena, Australia on Friday night. Now I’ll admit, I only really know a handful of their songs, but from the moment they appeared on stage, the quality of musicianship from all members of the band was outstanding. Spandau Ballet were on stage for two hours, performing 24 songs from throughout their career.
Midway through the concert, Spandau Ballet played a tribute to Steve Strange who unfortunately passed away earlier this year. Steve Strange was not only a musician with Visage but was the founding member of various clubs in London during the late 70’s, early 80’s, most noteworthy being the “Blitz” club in Convent Garden. Steve had an extremely strict dress code policy at the Blitz, only admitting those who were “weird and wonderful”; this group of clubbers became known as the “Blitz Kids”.
Their dress consisted of bizarre home-made costumes or clothing from Op shops, extreme makeup by both men and women whilst maintaining an androgynous appearance. The Blitz Kids were credited for launching the New Romantic movement which dominated fashion and the music charts at the time. Spandau Ballet were part of this scene and frequently played live at the Blitz club; a launching pad to their international career.
Nearing the end of the show, Tony Hadley was sipping his “medicinal” Jack Daniels while taking the crowd through the popular “True”, “Through the Barricades” and the song I was anticipating the most…… “Gold!!” Every person in the 12,000 audience was up dancing and singing during “Gold”; how could you not have a little boogie, reminiscing your childhood I ask!
At the end of the encore, the band thanked the crowd numerous time, whilst the audience showed their appreciation with a lot of clapping and screaming! The guys seemed in no hurry to leave the stage; giving each other big man hugs and taking a few group selfies with the audience. For me, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a band I enjoyed listening to as a kid and I’m so glad to say I’ve now seen them live.