Review by David Waterfield
Back in January 1987 I was in the audience at Birmingham Odeon to see Nik Kershaw. Supporting him that night was a certain Shropshire band called T’Pau who had just released their first single ‘Heart And Soul’. By the end of that year T’Pau had a number one single and their number one album Bridge Of Spies was well on its way to being certified quadruple platinum.
It is clear right from the opening song ‘Sex Talk’ that the passing years have not diminished the power of Carol Decker’s voice one iota. Flanked on either side by lead guitarist James Ashby and original band member and song writing partner Ron Rogers, Carol demonstrated what a tremendous rock vocalist she is. T’Pau proceeded to rock the place with ‘Thank You For Goodbye’ (performed in the style of the original demo), ‘Secret Garden’, ‘Island’ and a superb version of ‘Monkey House’ going down a storm.
The pace of the show then slowed and the mood became mellower as the band performed a selection of their anthemic power ballads. ‘I Will Be With You’ and their top ten hit ‘Valentine’ had the crowd singing along but for me the highlights were the thoughtful ‘Strange Place’ and a stripped down version of ‘Only The Lonely’.
Although this tour has been built around the 25th anniversary of ‘Bridge Of Spies’, T’Pau have much more to offer and it was good to hear material from all four albums represented. Three tracks from their often overlooked 1998 album Red featured and it was great to hear ‘Let It All Fall’ – something of an atypical song for T’Pau – which is one of my favourites by the band. And if you were the bloke standing next to me while I was singing my head off to this song then I apologise!
Carol Decker’s energy and enthusiasm was infectious. Her keen sense of humour and between song banter connected with the audience and helped to create a great atmosphere, though how on earth she lasted the night in such a hot and sweaty venue wearing that custom made leather jacket I’ll never know.
After closing the set with ‘Heart And Soul’ and ‘Bridge Of Spies’ T’Pau returned for an encore of their number one hit ‘China In Your Hands’, which saw the Robin 2 crowd singing along and waving their hands, pints and mobile phones in the air and it ended the evening on a nostalgic high.
25 years on Carol Decker can still cut it and T’Pau is still a great pop/rock band. Tonight was a rare treat to see the band move beyond the confines of the festival circuit and play a full set to their own fans. A great night – I wouldn’t have missed it for the World.
Thank You For Goodbye
I Will Be With You
Only The Lonely
Now That You’re Gone
Road To Our Dream
Let It All Fall
Wing And A Prayer
Heart And Soul
Bridge Of Spies
China In Your Hand