Ultravox (support Sonja Haering)
Monday, 26th April 2010
Paradiso, AMsterdam, The Netherlands
Ultravox has been around for over three decades, dating back as far as 1973.
Originally the line up featured a vocalist later known as "John Foxx" but Billie Currie, Chris (St. John) Cross and Warren Cann were part of the line up that recorded the first albums.
The big hits came after 1979, when Midge Ure came into the band as a replacement of John (Dennis Leigh) Foxx.
In those early eighties Ultravox recorded songs like Vienna, Lament, Dancing With Tears In My Eyes and are regarded as pioneers of the New Wave genre.
Nowadays, with dance music & modern technology, in my opinion Ultravox's music still stands the test of time and I'm inclined to call their music 'progressive' in the sense the melodies,
the violin and the use of multiple electronics, both on stage as well as on their albums.
As always The Amsterdam Paradiso was full of enthusiastic fans, in this case mostly people in their forties and fifties.
The support act was the lovely Belgian musician Sonja Haering.
Recently she put out an interesting album together with Fedra Coppens under the monniker of "Mitras".
Barefooted, she played a classical violin, an electric violin and a melodica, accompanied by electronic keyboards and percussion, provided via her Apple lap top.
Because of the really horrible lighting, namely some 6 spotlights at the back of the stage pointed directly towards the audience and thus making it virtually
impossible to see Sonja really clearly.
The melodies and solo's she played were tasteful and the appreciation of a big part of the crowd was understandable and completely justified.
Then it was time for the 4 guys responsible for all those lovely songs in the eighties: Ultravox.
Featuring their most successful album Rage In Eden, the band played professionally and with concentration.
The major role was of course for the now bald Midge Ure, who sang most if not all the lead vocals during the performance.
Although he experienced some difficulties with the highest notes, for me his voice was remarkably well preserved and most of time the renditions
of all the songs were pretty close to the original recordings, including the sound of the synths!
Cross switching from his Rickenbacker bass to keyboards, Cann from drums to electronics, Currie from keyboards to violin and Ure from guitar to keys:
it was quite busy on the stage.
Although none of the musicians can be regarded as virtuoso's on their instruments, it's the combination of the melodies,
Ure's voice and the arrangements that makes the sound of this band still unique.
It might well be some of the music by bands like Coldplay or Muse have been inspired by Ultravox.
Songs like opener New Europeans, Rage In Eden or White China are all little gems in the genre of symphonic pop music.
The crowd clapped, danced and sang along with hits like Lament and were ecstatic when after some 1 3/4 hours the last encore The Voice filled the venue.
The right time and the right place for Ultravox in the Netherlands and personally I really hope the band will try to record a new album because
in my opinion there is still a place for 'eighties new wave' in 2011!
Epilogue from a frustrated photographer
It makes no sense to me to allow hundreds of people to use little flash camera's throughout the whole concert, while people like me with bigger camera's,
not using flash, trying to promote the bands and their music, are forced to stash away their gear after fifteen minutes of music while in that period,
except Midge Ure, the members of the band were in the dark for almost the whole time! During the time frame photographers were allow to 'shoot' the performing artists,
the lighting was truly crap.
We Stand Alone
Visions In Blue
Death In The Afternoon
Rage In Eden
One Small Day
All Stood Still
Reap The Wild Wind
Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
Loves Great Adventure
Ultravox Official Website
Sonja Haering Official Website
Sonja Haering Myspace