`Don't be expecting too much," said Ure as he took the stage. "We've only had one rehearsal, and this is the second." He needn't have bothered, for we were all too busy craning forward to see if those legendary sideburns still ended in their trademark point, which, unfortunately, they didn't. Once upon a time, the spirit of the age resided in the rakish angle of Ure's facial hair. Way back when, a generation had watched enraptured as the sideboards had grown from the bum-fluff of teeny-bop combo Slik (remember those baseball jackets?), to the punkish edge of the Rich Kids (Ure plus ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock), and onwards to the finely honed point of New Romantics Ultravox, dry-ice kings of the early pop-video age. Then, Midge was rock-bloke No1, aide-de-camp to General Geldof in the Ethiopian campaign, fond uncle to troubled youngsters Boy George and Marilyn and provider of sensitive trouser advice to Spandau Ballet. "They said there'd be a young audience," Ure said to the respectably full house of fans from his bygone days. "You're not, so why should we be?" replied a wit in the audience, as the pomp and circumstance of the opening number, "Fade to Grey" (a hit for Steve Strange's Visage), began to rattle over the PA.

We all wanted desperately for it to go well, but the capable yet anonymous trio was a handicap and the old material of much-loved but relatively anodyne songs proved woefully thin, the easy platitudes of their ponderous lyrics revealed quite brutally. "Dear God", Midge sang, and you wondered whether one line really did say, "Please let my investments be sound", or if it was a glitch between the mixing desk and your ears. Though Ure could play guitar and sing very effectively, and his amiable Scots wide- boy stage persona reached out to the ever-open, nostalgic arms of the audience, in truth, little seemed to be going on.

He was, perhaps, at his best on a series of unlikely Sixties cover versions - "To Sir with Love", "Man of the World", "Strange Brew" - where he rocked out with conviction, and although he remained a truly endearing bloke throughout, there was something badly missing. A solo, acoustic performance, or the addition of a fashionable string quartet, might well be a better bet if Ure wants to seriously re-start his career. As it was - and as the trusty old warhorse of the pre-encore number inevitably had it (and it still sounded great) - it means nothing to me. Oh, Vienna.

Midge Ure plays Flux, the Edinburgh New Music Festival, tonight (Booking: 0131-557 6969) Phil Johnson

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