First Night: Spandau Ballet, O2, Dublin

3.00

I know this much is true – they've still got it

In the drab Britain of 30 years ago, Spandau Ballet kick-started the Eighties with appearances – never gigs – at non-rock venues that were as much fashion shows as music events. Images and memories of being mobbed with the band in Edinburgh in 1982 flashed through my mind, as they did on the film montage which introduces their first gig in two decades. The audience in the 9,200-capacity Dublin venue is at least 70 per cent female, though the merchandisers also cleverly target the thirtysomething couples with bibs and romper suits adorned with various Spandau motifs. It's all a far cry from the heady days of the Blitz, the Soho venue where word-of-mouth started for the group who put the style back into pop. Fittingly, they start with the synth-driven "To Cut A Long Story Short" and the irresistible walking base line of "The Freeze", their first two singles, even if they don't revert to their kilt-and-frilly-shirt selves of 1980.

The front four members stand close together in a show of unity as if to recreate the club vibe of their early days and show that the court case which singer Tony Hadley unsuccesfully brought against songwrinter Gary Kemp in 1999 has been forgotten. Unfortunately, the goodwill evaporates as they switch mood and play a sequence of middling MOR songs from 1984's Parade album. "Virgin", the tune they debuted at Live Aid in 1985, is easily outshone by the smooth "She Loved Like Diamond", which barely scraped into the Top 50 on its original release but is one of half a dozen gems in their singles catalogue. "Through The Barricades" written about a couple from either side of the sectarian divide, hits the right note in the Irish capital and turns into a huge singalong for fans who remember the Troubles. Spandau finally hit their stride with a series of dancefloor fillers, starting with "Instinction", with backing vocalist Dawn Taylor battling Hadley and David Tench recreating the keyboard stabs like Trevor Horn's production on the original – a shivers-down-the-spine moment.

Inevitably, they end with "True", the blue-eyed soul ballad that topped charts around the world in 1983. They encore with the rocky "Fight For Ourselves" and "Gold", another tune showcasing the big voice of Hadley, a belter in the Tom Jones mould – without the Welshman's knowing glint. In the year which has already seen amazing comebacks like those of Magazine and Mott the Hoople, Spandau Ballet are not quite in the same league, but their live dates will brighten up many an October evening.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum