Corn Exchange, Ipswich
This was ‘Midge Ure – The 1980 Tour’ – playing Visage highlights and Vienna album in full for the first time ever! and Ipswich was one of the lucky towns on the tour to have Rusty Egan available to join Midge Ure on stage. This is the first time these two have played Visage tacks together live.
We were treated to Rusty performing a DJ set for the warm up and what a joy! His enigmatic personality, some would say nuts, was as engaging as his stories. Being right at the forefront of this ‘new wave’ of music would have been an incredible time and his narrative of meeting and working with new artists, hanging out with the famous, was fantastic. Setting up Blitz Club during the post-punk time where young people wanted to get away from the all that angst, a club where they played the future of music, not rock and not punk and all the colourful characters who wanted to be seen. Rusty gave us a real sense of that time. His love of ‘beautiful music’ is utterly tangible. My only criticism was his part was not long enough.
After the interval, Midge Ure came on stage to huge applause, to join Band Electronica for the first track Yellow Pearl to get us all in the mood.
Band Electronica consists of drums and two synths with multi-tasking bassist and violinist. It was a nice, clean stage set up with the band on big stage blocks so we could see them, the blocks were also used for video projection. Midge was at the front with his set-up with keys, vocoder on a cool mobile unit so he could smoothly swap to the guitar and play those well-known riffs.
The set-up gave a sense of space without being sparse. The lighting was great and was part of the act so you could almost call it a light show. Totally enhanced the atmosphere and made up for the lack of movement on stage considering they are stuck to the synths. Saying that though, the bass and the violin came front on stage when their songs needed it. It was all encompassing to create an evening of music and light.
A few tracks at the start Rusty was on stage with a standing drum set up to join in the live Visage tracks – something for the fans to have experienced once in their lifetimes. Of course, ‘Fade to Grey’ was enjoyed by all the audience.
‘Vienna’ in full and in its entirety, was embraced by everyone. A trip down memory lane as the audience were taken back to those times 40 years ago, recapturing an amazing time in their youth and in the history of music.
Midge didn’t play any of his solo work, it was all collaborated tracks and a mixture of the popular, and B-sides such as ‘A Passionate Reply’. We also had ‘In The Year 2525’ and Rusty’s track ‘Glorious’.
There wasn’t too much talking, enough for him to connect with us but not too much where the flow was disrupted. I liked that – the tracks spoke for themselves. Midge’s voice is still strong and very listenable, his guitar playing fabulous. ‘Vienna’ was dramatic and fulfilled all expectations, he must have sung that track over 10,000 times but it still looked like he is still thoroughly enjoying it. The audience was enjoying it too, with dancing, singing clapping most of the night.
I was fortunate to go along with friends who are (almost) 40-yearlong fans and have a better appreciation of electronic music than myself and they enjoyed it – two tour dates back to back.
The tour continues into 2020 with more dates added throughout February.