Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
There are few finer voices than that of Midge Ure, especially when the vast majority of the evening spent in his company at the Atkinson in Southport is listening to an album that, arguably unfairly, was played against the workings of corporate turmoil and interference. There are times in life when you know that just want to hear the artist being lauded for them alone, not having an agenda pushed down their throat, it’s bad enough in the democracy of a band but when it comes against what is an especially beautiful solo album such as Breathe, that’s when you know the agenda has got rotten.
For Midge Ure to come out on the road and highlight the album in amongst a set of Ultravox songs, solo hits and songs that somehow defy expectation and are shrouded in that true definition of the word cool could have been seen as a brave move, it could have run the risk of alienating a section of fans that empathised and sympathised with the way the Scottish singer was treated during that period of time. However, the fans, like the man, are a hardy and edifying crowd and the music is such a big pull when it is played with the showcasing of being treated in the way that the songwriter imagined, so much so that the beauty, the stirring of the past was one in which captivated all within the theatre section of the Atkinson.
The sense of the dramatic is never lost when watching Midge Ure, it could be in the hallowed halls of Edinburgh’s The Jam House on a cold February day, the confines of St. Helens as the cold biting wind seeps into the soul or as is the case, allowing the stillness of a summer’s day to rampage through the veins, the dry ice on stage swirling and swallowing whole any negativity that may have been allowed in to the building, forming a ghostly, unearthly pact between man and eternity. For the voice of reason is allowed such nights and so the constant unyielding effect of over 40 years of entertaining an audience with great calm and measure is allowed to drift with purpose from the stage and into the hearts of those with a sense of Time and passion.
Opening with the songs Dear God, Become, Lament and the cerebral excellence of Fade To Grey, which was wonderfully dedicated to his Visage partner Steve Strange who sadly passed away earlier in the year, Midge soon went into the point of the evening, that in perform the entire Breathe album and perhaps to show what should have been if, as it should be, the artist is left alone without interference to say what they want to say in the manner that they truly want to say it in.
Tracks such as Field of Fire, Sinner Man, Guns and Arrows and the album title track were given room to breathe and take flight and soar with ease and the outpouring of affection for each song, aided by the musicians Joseph O’ Keefe and Stacey Cole, was rightly considered and fruitful but nonetheless astonishingly refreshing.
With the evening culminating with songs such as the standard bearer for Gothic Synth Pop classics in the narrative lyrical dream Vienna and the lyrically impressive If I Was, the crowd at the Atkinson gave their verdict with the highest possible praise to a man who arguably has the voice in which those who suffer from envy wish they could have and those who never succumb to the vice of Iago just listen to with pleasure that they lived in a time in which to hear it.
A superb evening of music brought to Southport by a true legend of the last 40 years, intricate, demanding and beautiful; Midge Ure once more claimed the hearts of a vast and appreciative crowd.
Ian D. Hall