Thursday, 4 October 2012

Ultravox. Hammersmith 28th Sept 2012 . Review/Thoughts

Still not got my feet back on the ground.  I didn't get a chance to catch the guys on the Return to Eden tours in 2009 & 2010 and being as this is my favourite group ever, it's not so difficult to imagine how I felt. So the chance to be at Hammersmith, seeing as the last time me saw them there was in 1984..... well I was just a wee bit excited ;)

The concert was  incredible, an absolute marathon at over 2.5 hours long split into 2 sets. They played all the songs I love and know so well, along with a good number of tracks from the new album. The sound was extraordinary and the atmosphere was magic :)

I was up on my feet the minute the lights went down, I'd promised myself I would be. The opening track ' Brilliant' was really powerful, with an unexpected and excellent drum solo from Warren. It's a track I'd not been 100% sure of on the album but live it took off to a different level, edgier and stronger, I loved it!  The first half of the set leaned a little more towards the moodier darker tracks.  'Rage in Eden' was beautiful and haunting, particularly liked all Billy's additional violin work. I admit I had tears in my eyes during 'Visions in Blue', a particular favourite. The crowds response was very good, didn't take long at all for most people to be up and singing, if not quite dancing ;) The set finished with a stonking rendition of 'The Voice' complete (I was so happy to see) with the now legendary drumming at the end. Sadly I once again missed out on one of those precious drum sticks, but you can't have it all.  Only problems, well there were a few quirks regarding the mixing, these were mainly  resolved as the night went on  (and anyway that's live music), also the volume seemed a little quiet.

Shouldn't have worried about that, by the second half they had definitely turned the sound right up! I love to feel that bass going up through my feet into belly :)) And the pace had gone up as well, it was amazing, hardly time to draw breath between numbers, a real sensory overdrive. The new tracks certainly stood their own amongst the classics. They sounded rougher live than on the record and really shone. To mention just a couple, well, 'Lie' was awesome nearly finished off my voice box singing along with that ;) and 'Change' was hypnotic and enigmatic, it drew you in.  Other outstanding tracks of the night.. difficult to say as it was all so good, but 'Hymn', ' Death in the Afternoon', New Europeans and 'All Stood Still', certainly brought the house down. A fantastic version of  'Astradyne'.'We Stand Alone another huge favourite of mine was gorgeous and of course 'Vienna' a real shivers down the spine moment that was !! :) All this enhanced by great lighting during the show and I also liked the backdrop projections, simple but very atmospheric.

Back for two encores from past and present.  I know it's not been so popular amongst other fans but I liked 'Contact' as the final number, it was a brave and typically challenging Ultravox decision. To bring us all up so high with the energy and excitement and then play such a quiet and very poignant piece... made you think and I liked that :) Sadly it was marred by the now pretty infamous 'triflegate' incident, which left us all stunned and brought down with rather a bump. Then the guys were gone and it was all over.

To make just a perfect day, I got the unexpected treat of getting the chance to say hi to Chris Cross a couple of hours before the concert started. I wandered over to the Odeon (as it always will be to me ) quite a bit before the doors opened.  I was bored of being in my hotel room and basically too excited to sit still. Saw Chris just outside the stage door and he graciously signed my 'Brillant' CD for me !!!! It was a bit tragic, as I was as star-struck as I had been when  I was 16 or 17, still couldn't think of anything sensible or interesting to say and my hand was shaking like a leaf as I handed him a pen to sign with. Forgot to ask if I take a picture, my brain turned to mush ;)

Then very lucky after the show as well.  I hung about by the stage door in the hope that I might catch the others to complete my autograph collection. After the incident, that I mentioned, didn't really think there would be much chance. Certainly sure that Midge would not be in a mood to meet any one (and who could blame the him), and thought the others might shoot off as well. By midnight, I think the few of us remaining had rather given up, then one of the stage crew popped out to tell us that the guys had all gone home. As he was talking to us who should wander out behind him but Warren Cann!! A real gentleman, even though he was obviously exhausted he was happy to sign stuff and chatted away to us. I did get my photo taken with him but sadly the chap who took it couldn't work my camera properly and so nothing came out *sobs*

It was an amazing and  emotional evening that I wouldn't have missed for the world. I had wished that they might have played something a little more unusual, perhaps 'I Never Wanted To Begin', 'Passionate Reply' or something like that, but let's face it we all have our favourites and they can't possibly play them all and it certainly did not spoil my enjoyment at all :)  The guys have just got better over the intervening years, Midge's voice is still stunning,  it really was the best Ultravox concert I've been too, well worth the 28 year wait  :)  And a seriously wonderful birthday present, thank you so much for the ticket Chris (that's my Chris, Chris Dean not Chris Cross) just to avoid confusion ;)

 Thank you so much, Billy, Warren, Chris & Midge !! Now just waiting for the live CD  to come out  so I can enjoy it all over again!

So to finish my ramblings just a few more of my piccies, rather crap I know but full of memories.

1 comment:

  1. great to know more about your adventure with more details,
    i think you are their biggest fan in the whole world :)!!