Tony Hadley, Amber Lawrence @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 21/9/2022

This was definitely a show and a half! Tony Hadley the voice of Spandau Ballet returned to Adelaide for his fortieth anniversary Australian tour playing his greatest hits and solo material at the iconic Thebarton Theatre. Hadley is the consummate show man and his vocal prowess is next level firming cementing his position at the top of his game.

Amber Lawrence was a fantastic opener playing songs off her new album Living For The Highlights. Stunning voice and really deserving to be playing on the big stage on this tour winning over a legion of new fans. Look forward to seeing her again next time in Adelaide.

With a more “mature” audience at The Thebbie it didn’t take Tony Hadley long to recapture the hearts, minds and adulation of the predominantly female fans down the front. Sporting a black suit with a crisp white shirt he treated Adelaide fans to a near faultless evening of great music that spanned his entire career adding the stories behind those songs and moments along the way. Opening with Instinction (from Spandau Ballet’s album Diamond) followed by Highly Strung (off Parade). Hadley welcomed the crowd and said that tonight would be “everything you know and love”. How good was Oh Carol? Hot damn! Hadley added that the 1976 Chuck Berry tune was the first song they played together.

Hadley spoke of the good times in the “post punk era” in London in the 80s and when they signed their record deal in 1980 which served as a perfect intro to what was their first single To Cut A Long Story Short. Another big single in Only When You Leave proved popular. Hadley spoke of adventurous nature of making videos in particular the nerves with working with models on the clip for Communication whose rubbing his chest “felt very nice”. Solo single Obvious was solid but it was the Spandau Ballet classics that continued to get the crowd excitable.

There was a couple of comments about the video clip wars with Duran Duran and not wanting to make “crap videos”. I’ll Fight For You and Round and Round from Parade would definitely be in the highlights reel. The stories behind the music and perhaps things that fans might not have known were quite interesting and were all part of the Hadley charm. The story Hadley described behind Lost In Your Love when he went solo after Spandau Ballet split for the first time was classic where he was told he wasn’t cut out for rock and maybe should “go to the desert to discover yourself”. Even the story behind the documentary was enthralling.

After Soul Boy and Because Of You Hadley went for the “Jack, the rock ‘n roll drink”. Hadley played his favourite tune Through The Barricades which was followed by Tonight Belongs To Us, Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On), Mad About You and Lifeline. Hadley acknowledged that some partners might of been dragged here under “duress” but promised that the scene had been set for later on with this lovey dovey tune True saying that when you get home it’s “all on me!” Definitely the pinnacle moment seeing all the phones out and the crowd singing inunison. It should be noted how good the band was and in particular backing singer and percussionist Lily Gonzalez, classy, very classy!

Returning for an encore it was a very laid back One For My Baby where Hadley reflected on meeting Frank Sinatra which led to him playing the Royal Albert Hall echoing the sentiment to chase your dreams. The end was near and after a false start Hadley quipped that “at least it’s not a tape” before finishing on a rousing rendition of Gold. What a way to finish a top night!

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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