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.
Spandau Ballet: The Story UK 2xCD 
- To Cut A Long Story Short
- The Freeze
- Chant No. 1
- Only When You Leave
- I’ll Fly For You
- Highly Strung
- Round And Round
- Fight For Ourselves
- Through The Barricades
- Once More
- This Is The Love
- Soul Boy
- Age Of Blows
- Chant No. 1 – Remix
- Paint Me Down
- She Loved Like Diamond
- Code Of Love
- I’ll Flight For You – Glide Mix
- How Many Lies
- Man In Chains
- Be Free With Your Love
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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