A Sunday evening at Milton Keynes Theatre was full of people of a certain age. My peer group to be exact and we were all excited to re- live some of our favourite hits from the 80's from Midge Ure, The Christians and Altered Images.
There was an excited atmosphere as the music piped through covered New Order, David Bowie and The Vapours. Soon the lights went down and Clare Grogan from Altered Images came on stage. Opening with I Could Be Happy got a huge roar from the crowd. Her backing singers were her niece and her daughter who were both lovely. Poppy even dances like Clare. What made Clare’s performance special was the interaction between the songs. She told us a story about a royal variety performance when she had borrowed her sisters shoes and walked out on stage with toilet roll stuck to the bottom of the shoe. She was funny and likeable. I have always had a bit of a girl crush on Clare as I liked her quirky style and how down to earth she is. She is also a fantastic singer and we sang along to all songs including Happy Birthday and Don’t talk to me about Love. Clare finished her set saying we’re still young. Well she did take us back more than 30 years so tonight we are.
Next up was The Christians. Liverpudlian, Garry Christian came out and was charming. He started to sing an Altered Images song in a high voice and then touched his heart to think of Clare. It is well known that most boys of my age group loved Clare Grogan or Kim Wilde. This is what girls my age had to measure up to growing up. Garry was funny and talked about why he wears a waistcoat and how it is hard at his age to do this gigging thing. He invited anyone in the audience to swap but no one offered to come onstage. My husband thinks I should get up but firstly I don’t know all The Christians back catalogue and secondly, I can’t sing. They are a very accomplished band and played many hits including, Ideal World, The Bottle, Hooverville, Forgotten Town and Harvest For The World.
There was an interval before Midge Ure so I popped out to the ladies and who should I bump into but only Clare Grogan. We had a personal chat about our age, security guards, photos at gigs and how cool we are. Yes, Clare thinks I'm cool. She even wrote it on the Happy Birthday bag that was bought for me for my birthday by my husband. Funny, interesting and really genuine, she didn’t disappoint and I was delighted to meet her.
Soon it was time for Midge Ure. He came on with Electronica who were offering the electronic support for his tracks. I have seen Midge twice before. First as support when Ultravox supported Simple Minds at the O2. I also saw him at the Only After Dark intimate gig in Birmingham as an acoustic set but was excited about hearing the songs as they were written with an electronic backing. There is no doubt of Midge’s talents. Not only has he written with Ultravox, but also co-wrote the infamous Do They Know Its Christmas and Visage’s Fade to Grey. Lucky for us, he played the latter in all its electronic splendour and wowed the crowd who were on their feet singing and dancing along. Midge did a range of solo and Ultravox tracks including No Regrets, If I Was, Dancing With Tears In My Eyes, SleepWalk, All Stood Still, The Hymn and of course the classic Vienna. Midge is extremely professional and slick in his performance, and played keyboards and guitar as well as vocals. He joked about the dance police to get us up and as they were running late he explained how an encore worked so said instead of going off and coming back on can we just pretend. He finished on Great Adventure and what an adventure it has been.
Thank you to Midge, Garry and Clare for giving Milton Keynes a night they won’t forget for many years. Come back soon.
On another note:
The over-zealous security stopping people taking photos was distracting as they kept walking in front of the audience and flashed a flashlight at them to get them to stop. Their radios were also so loud that when the artists were talking the radio was so loud we couldn’t hear what the artist was saying. The Christians even asked for phones to be switched off as he could hear it and thought it was a phone. I let him know it was a security radio instead. Don’t blame the audience for security. This issue is surprising as less than a week ago we were at the same venue for Squeeze which was a much more relaxed affair and allowed photography as well as letting us enjoy ourselves. I am unsure if this issue is related to Milton Keynes Theatre or the tour rules but it certainly needs addressing.