Heck Freezes Over: Spandau Ballet To Tour The US in 2015

These guys are serious about a world tour!

These guys are serious about a world tour!

While we’ve been in a David Bowie reverie for a few days here, the world has kept spinning. On Monday, I received yet another email from Spandau Ballet. I have to say here that their email campaign to promote the film/tour of “Soulboys Of The Western World” has been run like a precision military campaign. It seems like there are 2-3 notices per week that leave no stone left unturned, save for the all crucial US tour dates. Which have been duly announced. Here is the US tour, the first since [rolls eyes heavenward] 1985 for these guys! Yeah, I was all set to see them in 1985 in Tampa, but Steve Norman broke his leg and that, as they say, was that.

Spandau Ballet | Soulboys Of The Western World Tour – 2015 US leg

Jan. 23rd | SAN FRANCISCO, CA | Warfield Theatre
Jan. 25th | LOS ANGELES, CA | Wiltern Theatre
Jan. 27th | DENVER, CO | Paramount Theatre
Jan. 30th | CHICAGO, IL | House of Blues
Jan. 31st | DETROIT, MI | Masonic Temple Theatre
Feb. 3rd | TORONTO, ONT | Massey Hall
Feb. 5th | BOSTON, MA | House of Blues
Feb. 6th | NEW YORK, NY | Beacon Theatre
Feb. 7th | WESTBURY, NY | Theatre at Westbury
Feb. 9th | WASHINGTON, DC | 9:30 Club
Feb. 10th | RED BANK, NY | Count Basie Theatre

The documentary will be something that I’d like to see and perhaps buy if the price is right. Word has it, the materials and topics covered were remarkably transparent, given that the in-fighting that scuttled the band and made the years afterward particularly hostile was not swept under the carpet. It has to be said that it was probably necessary for the film to have a dramatic arc, and even documentaries need that to keep audiences engaged. Not everyone is a New Romantic geek who could get 8mm vintage footage from Billy’s and be swooning.

Rhino/Reformation | UK | 2xCD | 2014 | 825646227884

Rhino/Reformation | UK | 2xCD | 2014 | 825646227884

Spandau Ballet: The Story UK 2xCD [2014]

Disc 1

  1. To Cut A Long Story Short
  2. The Freeze
  3. Musclebound
  4. Chant No. 1
  5. Instinction
  6. Lifeline
  7. Communication
  8. True
  9. Gold
  10. Only When You Leave
  11. I’ll Fly For You
  12. Highly Strung
  13. Round And Round
  14. Fight For Ourselves
  15. Through The Barricades
  16. Once More
  17. This Is The Love
  18. Steal
  19. Soul Boy

Disc 2

  1. Confused
  2. Toys
  3. Mandolin
  4. Age Of Blows
  5. Glow
  6. Chant No. 1 – Remix
  7. Pharaoh
  8. Paint Me Down
  9. She Loved Like Diamond
  10. Code Of Love
  11. Pleasure
  12. I’ll Flight For You – Glide Mix
  13. How Many Lies
  14. Man In Chains
  15. Be Free With Your Love
  16. Raw

When I was in California visiting all of the Amoeba chain, I saw the US 1xCD edition of yet another Spandau Ballet greatest hits album, “The Story.” What makes this one different from the recommended “Reformation” boxed set [pretty much all the Spandau almost anyone would need] is that is contains the four new songs made since the band’s regrouping in 2009. I didn’t buy this disc when I saw it. The last full album from 1990 was so tepid, that I couldn’t buy this new comp without sampling the cuts first. For me to admit that says a lot, since I am normally Mr. Delayed Gratification. But that’s only when I have a degree of confidence in the band. I can’t claim that for Spandau at this stage in the game.

Sampling the title track to the “Once More” album, which saw the band performing acoustic versions of their canon with one new title cut, revealed that not much had changed in nearly 20 years for the band. It was a sappy ballad, if you can believe that! The three new tracks recorded this Summer under the aegis of Trevor C. Horn reveal the differences that a quality production can make on the raw songs. While the songs may be a far cry from their Chrysalis era heyday, Horn adds enough strings and his penchant for snappy arranging to lend a bit more life to this material than the preceding song evidenced.

The single “This Is The Love” is another labored ballad that’ll have you pining for the relative glory days of “I’ll Fly For You” but “Steal” actually sounded like a Marvin Gaye tune, which, admittedly, is a new wrinkle for the band. It doesn’t move me much, but it evidences some growth, at least. The most dynamic of these tunes [and that isn’t saying much] is the “Soul Boy” cut from whence the docu takes its name. I might get these as DLs, which plenty much considering that I have a far too large Spandau Collection of at least 60 titles in my Record Cell! I can’t justify buying the CD.

Will I see them live on this tour? Naaaaaah. They aren’t coming any closer than D.C. and I can’t justify the cash to see the band as they are now. Atlanta? No. Only half the driving time but still, too much expense. Would I have driven the hour to see them in Greenville/Spartanburg without staying overnight? Probably. I’m certain they still perform “Chant No. 1” in their set, and even late in the day, they couldn’t mess that powerful number up. A look at their SxSW appearance of this year reveals an unimpeachable set of classic Chrysalis material, and I suspect that it would be the lion’s share of any US tour setlist going forward, but they are just so MOR now, that it would be a bittersweet experience for me to attend. That ship has sailed, but if anyone hears otherwise, feel free to indulge and report your findings. I will pass.

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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13 Responses to Heck Freezes Over: Spandau Ballet To Tour The US in 2015

  1. The version of “This Is The Love” they played on Jimmy Kimmel last night http://youtu.be/myEJ8KrTmrU was far from a ballad. More uplifting than anything and yes, a bit on the easy listening side. But that’s their forte. Got tickets to see them at The Wiltern in January.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Orange County DJ – Well, good for them. And you! If they were in my neck of the woods I’d certainly go. I just can’t justify a big trek. Especially after my recent West Coast Tour. If they have more spark live, thank your lucky stars. They can be a hot band, as anyone who may have seen “Live Over Britain” can attest.

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  2. Rob C says:

    I did see them on their first comeback tour in 2011 here in Melbourne. For me, the decider was the opening act: Tears For Fears. TFF played a flawless, impecable set that was too short (10 songs) but they hit most of the highs.

    As far as Spandau, they were much better than I expected. The show was entertaining, nostalgic and the crowd loved every minute of it (it was an arena show) They played all the hits, focused on the first four LPs bar a few later tracks. Top to bottom, the show was an A+ performance.

    The band are returning to Australia in 2015 – with Nik Kershaw supporting. I’m not sure if I will see them again (I may be O/S on business) but will strongly consider (never seen Nik Kershaw live and hear his live show is quite good)

    For me, I prefer strong package shows to help me make a purchase decision – Simple Minds/Devo/The Church & Icehouse/Hall & Oates & Steely Dan/World Party are recent packages I’ve seen over the past few years (though I did regretfully pass on seeing Blondie/Stranglers/The Saints) – Billy Idol/Cheap Trick is coming in 2015 and Simple Minds return (w/Ultravox rumoured to support – if so, I’m in)

    These days I prefer the package tours – I feel I get more bang for buck (concerts are insanely expensive here) and I feel I’m getting good value for money & the very important nostalgia value.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Rob C – Wow! TFF as an opening act for Spandau Ballet? Only Down Under! In North America the roles would surely be reversed. I envy you for that Simple Minds/DEVO/The Church combo of a few years back. Three bands that have nothing in common, other than I like them. At least I saw The Church back in ’88! Talk about a combo bill, the lineup was Tom Verlaine/The Church/Peter Murphy on Murphy’s “Love Hysteria” tour. Incredible value for money, back then. How were Steely Dan? I’ve not heard they have ever been anything but bloodless over the years.

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  3. Echorich says:

    I’ll keep my VERY FOND memories of Spandau Ballet playing live at The Savoy in Times Square and after party at Studio 54 in 1983, thank you very much. The new songs on The Story just don’t move me. Hadley sounds great, but this is MOR and not all that impressive.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – That you have such experiences is all the reason not to give them an inch today. You’d only be making sad comparisons. Sort of how Simple Minds were for me in 1986, only with time’s flow reversed. In ’86 I thought “this will be my only time to see this band,” so I went against my better judgement… and regretted it. If I could have experiences wiped, that one would be a contender.

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  4. Brian says:

    If I had a show like Echorich’s to look back on, I wouldn’t even consider it. I’m like you Monk. If they were coming to my town, and it was at the right kind of venue, I would go. As it stands, I would have to fly to San Fran. As it happens, I’m going to be there this weekend… hope you left me some records at Amoeba… but I can’t see a scenario where I could fly there again so soon. I won’t be buying the new comp either. I have just about everything I want by the fellas. Perhaps I will buy downloads of the new stuff, but I’m not even hot to do that at the moment. So, if I’m not now, will I ever be? Hadley has been a regular on the Rewind Festival circuit, and I recently saw clips of him on Palladia from one of the summer shows. He looked sweaty and swollen, but I have to admit his voice sounded really good.

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  5. zoo says:

    As a straight man, I can say that this is the best looking group of 50-something musicians I think I’ve ever seen.

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  6. Taffy says:

    Got my Spandau ticket for the Boston House of Blues show. Wondering if they’ll fill it or not. Don’t particularly care how MOR the new stuff is…I just wanna hear any and everything from Journeys and Diamond. And Lifeline from True. Anything else is filler, but I’ll have gotten my money’s worth.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Taffy – You’ll have to attend this one for me! I figured you’d be there will bells on. I’m sure you’ll report back your findings. As far as filling it, there’s probably enough pent up nostalgia for that song that it should not be a problem. What’s the capacity of that HOB? A thousand or so?

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      • Taffy says:

        HOB capacity is about 2400 (general admission floor, seats way up in a balcony). a lot of my “less knowledgeable” pals think the idea of a Spandau reunion/tour in 2014 is laughable, but of course they know one song and one song only. *That* song. :)

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Taffy – You mustn’t discount the scads of women of a certain age who would pay good coin to hear “that song” live in 2015! It’s significant enough of an 80s megahit from a band who never really worked that action over here back in the day. Think “pent up demand!”

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