Midge Ure, Gig Review. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. (2017).

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Midge Ure at the Philharmonic Hall, October 2017. Photograph by Ian D. Hall.

It is arguably impossible to think of the 1980s, musically and socially, without the work of Midge Ure eventually coming up in the conversation. The sense of being all things to all music lovers never far from the mind when looking on the decade with either fond nostalgia or the deep seated anger when the pictures of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters unfolded in Africa during 1984.

Nostalgia is a wonderful emotion, but it can bring more tears to the eye than expected, it can release the widest smile of memory indulgence but in the case of Midge Ure it can also spark passion, the fervour of the electronic heyday with Ultravox, the zeal of his solo work and the delight of the many collaborations and covers that have made Midge Ure one of the most thoughtful songwriters of his generation and beyond.

Desire, it is all an audience truly wants to feel from the stage, the electric pulse, the quickening depth of feeling, everything else is the abundant show, the curtain raised and the lights feeding the emotion to have a splendid time. Without that desire though, if there is no feeling coming from the stage, no warmth, no pounding out each note as if it were an opponent with a superior advantage, then all is lost, all crumbles into the dust of the well-intentioned groove.

Desire, it is an emotion that has never deserted Midge Ure, and for the audience inside the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool, already revved up by the generosity of playing by The Christians and Altered Images, the sparkle, the gleaming and the prestigious were very much once again in absolute electronic glory.

There will always be the discussion on whether someone prefers Midge Ure armed only with an acoustic guitar and allowing the natural ferocity of the voice steal the show or if the music somehow sweeps all before them when produced in the electronic form. Personal opinions perhaps were useless on a night when Midge Ure arguably looked absolutely at home with a fantastic band behind him, when songs from across his vast array of time spent on stage grew in stature with each passing minute during the set.

Tracks such as the set’s opener, Yellow Pearl, the mighty If I Was, The Voice, Ultravox’s Sleepwalk, Vienna, Hymn and All Stood Still, the heart-breaking cover of Scott Walker’s epic No Regrets and the passion, the desire that forms beautifully in the Visage song penned by the artist on stage, the great Fade To Grey, all were given the free rein to conquer and be in the minds of the audience for the days ahead.

A tremendous night of 80s fanfare by Altered Images, The Christians and Midge Ure; three powerful reasons why the decade was sensational for music, one in which the Philharmonic Hall’s audience were keen to show their appreciation for.

Ian D. Hall