Tony Hadley & Peter Cox - Preston Guild Hall - 09.03.04
Back from the brink of obscurity thanks to "Reborn In The USA", Tony "Don't Mention the legal wrangles from my former band" Hadley and one half of Go West Peter Cox are back in vogue once again. Whether it's playing to a whole new audience in America or slumming in the jungle these reality shows have resuscitated many fledging careers. Just look at little Peter Andre. He's back where he belongs, strutting his stuff on TOTP's. Hadders and Coxy have an older audience plus a whole new generation of fans thanks to extensive TV coverage of the guys crooning away.
Memories of the 80s come flooding back with the dramatic use of dry ice filling the stage. The band start playing and like a pair of uninhibited lounge singers Tony and Peter do a couple of showbiz duets. "The Boys Of Summer" and "Drive My Car" as their legion of fans whoop and holler. When Peter exits stage right, Tony takes centre stage and takes us back in time for his version of Spandau Ballet's "Lifeline". To add authenticity his former drummer John Keeble is on hand to keep the Spandau spirit well and truly alive.
This is a slick, well rehearsed and unashamedly entertaining show. These two rugged rockers are loving every minute of it and revelling in the long overdue adulation they so richly deserve. Poor old Tony's gained a few pounds since his glory days and can't reach the high notes like he used to, but he's a true showman flirting with the ladies and belting out ballads like "Walking In Memphis" and chatting away like an old mate in your local. Peter's partner (in the musical sense) Richard Jolly doesn't do an awful lot. He does the absolute minimum on guitar and keyboards, but involves the crowd wherever possible and seems happy enough to be the Andrew Ridgely of the duo. They play the hits, "Don't Look Down", "Call Me", "We Close Our Eyes", "Faithful" and "King Of Wishful Thinking" (from the movie Pretty Woman) and each and everyone have stood the test of time. Tony tantalizes with "True", overwhelms us with emotion on "Through The Barricades" and erupts with jubilation during "Gold". The cockney smooth talking charmer makes a fair stab at cabaret. His interpretation of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers "Freefalling" has the Hadley hallmark of his dulcet tones. The female backing singer displays her vocal dexterity during "Suspicious Minds" and Cox comes over all romantic on the semi-acoustic version of "Always On My Mind" and his cover of the Norah Jones hit single.
Hadley positively shines on his Sinatra tribute "That's Life" and the musicians around his compliment his smooth voice with consummate professionalism. As a fitting climax the lads join forces for "Addicted To Love", "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" and "Simply Irresistible" which to their female contingent they most certainly are. More a celebration of music in general than a retrospective of the careers of Spandau Ballet and Go West, this was an ample opportunity to witness good old fashioned showmanship from 2 very different but eclectic performers.
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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