10 October 2019
@The Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge
Words and pix by DAN SLY
Synth-tastic! What a pleasure it was to be present to see the great
Midge Ure still playing and still rocking at The Cambridge Corn Exchange
on a rainy but warm October evening. I cant lie, even though
I had been more a Duranie when I was at school, I was extremely excited
in anticipation of hearing both Visage and Vienna album tracks completely
live! Id even grown a thin moustache in homage to the man and
was ready for a trip back to the 1980s.
The Cambridge crowd, who were all sat down which threw me a bit, were
warmed up by the legendary Rusty Egan co-founder of Visage
and former Rich Kids band member, playing alongside Midge back in
the late 1970s. Rusty entertained us by spinning his decks and playing
his favourite synth and new wave tracks, while reciting tales of debauchery
and new romantic rock gods over the top of the tunes.
After a short break and to rapturous applause Midge came on around
9pm, kicking the set off with Visage - the title song
of the famous album from 1980. Rusty was back on stage banging the
electronic drums and along with the support band Electronica,
Midge proceeded to knock out some Visage classics including Block
On Blocks and In The Year 2525. We were then treated
to the timeless and crowd pleasing Fade To Grey.
Midge, a guitarist by trade, was warmed up and his vocals were solid.
We could also see that he was very comfortable and content rocking
out on his Epiphone Les Paul. The crowd then started to sing Happy
Birthday to him (it was his 65th birthday!) and he responded
with thanks and by saying Im still here you know, although
running on batteries nowadays!, much to the amusement of all
So now it was Ultravox and Vienna album time and Midge started off
with a few of the lesser known tracks including the stomping beats
of Passing Strangers and then continued on to the popular
Sleepwalk - the first single released from the Vienna
album in 1980. Midge was keen to remember the old days and referenced
it as a wonderful time when everything was changing and
thanked the other members of the mighty Ultravox for their
help in making the music.
As the album tracks kept coming, we eventually arrived at Vienna
which was immediately recognisable from that thumping bass/thunderclap
synth intro which sent shivers down my spine. The crowd stood and
cheered. It was epic. It was a true privilege hearing these timeless
tracks in a live setting, with many of them sounding like they could
have been written yesterday.
We knew now that we were nearing the finish line and as other classics
such as All Stood Still and The Voice came
our way, we were then greeted to an encore of Dancing with Tears
In My Eyes and then a second encore finishing with Hymn.
The Cambridge crowd were no longer sitting in their seats, they were
all up and they were dancing, absolutely loving it. Id forgotten
how much of an impact the 1980s and this Ultravox album had had not
only on music, but also on us as music fans. I thank Midge Ure for
reminding me - what a ledg.
Thanks also to Warren at Chuff Media for sorting