Review by David Waterfield
With many fans (including me) still clutching their tickets from the previous cancelled dates, it was great to see the Robin 2 packed out on Friday night for the welcome return of T’pau to the Midlands.
Supporting the band on this tour is John Adams, a young singer/songwriter/busker from South Wales who has opened for acts as diverse as Status Quo, Katherine Jenkins, Nizlopi and Little Mix. His acoustic/folk style is reminiscent of Passenger at times and his engaging personality won over the Bilston audience, who even sang along to some his self-penned songs. I wasn’t familiar with John Adams before tonight but his 30 minute set whizzed by and he made a favourable first impression.
Headliners T’Pau have carved out a niche for themselves on the eighties festival circuit but tonight offers them the opportunity to stretch out a bit and play a full show to their own fans. Their set was a well-judged balance of the classic hits that people would expect to hear and new material that demonstrates that their creative fires are still burning.
The show opened at a cracking pace with ‘Thank You For Goodbye’ (performed in the style of the original demo), followed by two tracks from Rage – ‘Secret Garden’ and ‘Island’ – the latter flowing straight into a thumping version of ‘Monkey House’ which was one of the highlights of the night. ‘I Will Be With You’, which Carol Decker highlighted as one of her favourites, slowed the pace down before the band showcased three well received tracks from their recent album Pleasure & Pain.
The anthemic power ballad ‘Valentine’ transported the audience back to the eighties and had the crowd singing along but, personally speaking, I’ve always preferred the rockier, edgier side of T’Pau so it was ‘Running Away’ and a spirited rendition of ‘Sex Talk’ that took the plaudits for me.
Flanked by lead guitarist James Ashby and original band member Ron Rogers, lead singer Carol Decker is undoubtedly the focal point of the band. She remains a tremendous rock vocalist and the raw power of her voice remains undiminished. Around her the touring version of T’Pau has expanded to a seven piece line up and this works especially well during set closer ‘Heart And Soul’, with four part harmonies holding down the melody behind Decker’s spoken verses. The encore, inevitably, is the band’s monster number one hit ‘China In Your Hand’ which saw the Robin crowd singing along during the chorus and it concluded the night on a nostalgic high.
It would have been nice to hear more material from The Promise and Red – two fine albums with much to commend them – but that’s just being picky really and I guess you can’t have everything. T’Pau were great though and it was an excellent night.
1. Thank You For Goodbye
2. Secret Garden
4. Monkey House
5. I Will Be With You
6. Read My Mind
10. Say You Will
11. Running Away
12. Sex Talk
13. Heart And Soul
14. Bridge Of Spies
15. China In Your Hand