Following on from The 1980 Tour back in 2019, when he presented a set that celebrated the release of landmark albums Visage and Vienna, Midge Ure returned to Birmingham for another career retrospective. This time around the performance was centered around the next two albums released by Ultravox, 1981’s Rage In Eden and 1982’s Quartet, that between them spawned half a dozen Top 20 hits. Accompanied by his three piece band Electronica, Midge delivered a show that delighted the sold out crowd who basked in the feel good factor of 80’s nostalgia.
Before the Ultravox section of the set there were a few solo hits that included the chart topping ‘If I Was’, a song where Midge got the opportunity to show that his skills as a guitarist remain undiminished. Although, given he once deputised for the late Gary Moore in Thin Lizzy, this was hardly surprising. The jaunty intro to synth-pop classic ‘Fade to Grey’ soon had the audience on their feet dancing and clapping along and was followed by the reflective ‘No Regrets’, a song Midge covered back in 1982 and which gave him his first solo Top 10.
The remainder of the main set was devoted to half a dozen songs apiece from Rage in Eden and Quartet, and kicked off with the dramatic ‘The Voice’. And talking of the voice, it was good to hear that Midge had no trouble hitting all of the right notes; indeed, his vocals were terrific throughout. More celebrated moments such as ‘Reap the Wild’ and ‘Hymn’ nestled alongside deeper cuts ‘Mine for Life’ and ‘I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)’ and in the case of a song like ‘We Came to Dance’ was only performed a relatively few number of times by Ultravox back in the 80’s.
Encore time began with the instrumental ‘Astradyne’ that led into a breathtaking ‘Vienna’, the refrain ringing out loud and clear across every corner of Symphony Hall. ‘Dancing With Tears in My Eyes’ was the cue for another mass dance and sing-a-long with Midge once again impressing on the guitar, before the show came to a dynamic conclusion with ‘All Stood Still’. After the success of the last two tours the question is what does he do next time around? There is, of course, the option of the next two Ultravox albums, Lament (1984) and U-Vox (1986) but given the lukewarm response to the latter this would seem unlikely. Alternatively, maybe a show that incorporates some of the aforementioned along with highlights from 1985’s solo album The Gift and its 1988 follow-up Answers To Nothing. But whatever he chooses to do next, Midge Ure can be assured of a warm welcome here in Birmingham.
If I Was
Fade to Grey
We Stand Alone
The Thin Wall
I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)
Your Name (Has Slipped My Mind Again)
Rage in Eden
Reap the Wild Wind
Mine for Life
We Came to Dance
Visions in Blue
Dancing With Tears in My Eyes
All Stood Still