TONY HADLEY | LIVE REVIEW
Caerphilly Castle, Sun 18 Sept
The castle was the backdrop recently for a weekend of shows and hopefully, this will become a regular occurrence during festival season because it’s such an atmospheric venue. The last night was a rock and soul show with music spanning over six decades. Opening were local legends, the feelgood Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band. Good golly miss Molly, they had energy to spare – and then some! They got everyone warmed up and moving to In the Midnight Hour, River Deep Mountain High, Land Of 1,000 Dances and (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher. Raspy-voiced frontman Mike McNamara and the crew were perfectly suited to deliver those classics and others.
Now, you get to a point where you still want to go to concerts, but you don’t want dudes stage diving and soaking you with beer. You don’t want to see someone who looks like they haven’t washed for a few months screaming for everybody to kill the capitalists. No, you want someone smooth, suave and sophisticated who appreciates musical tradition but can still throw some surprise punches. Someone who knows their Bee Gees from their Bennett and their Sinatra from their Stewart. You want someone like… Tony Hadley. The vocalist gave an accomplished performance the town won’t soon forget.
Hadley presented well-loved Spandau Ballet songs and others, interspersed with a couple of his own compositions. Feeling Good was the first of covers that included a killer version of the Killers’ Somebody Told Me, the Eagles’ The Boys Of Summer and U2’s With Or Without You. Spandau standouts were I’ll Fly For You (very sensually done), the winning Only When You Leave and a tremendous Through The Barricades, where he really reached heights with his baritone. Lily Gonzales stepped away from her percussion to join him in a short duet that made it even more memorable.
Hadley exuded confidence and professionalism onstage, along with the tight TH Band. While engaging with the crowd, he kept banter to a minimum as to fit in the tunes. He mentioned that he “took pictures earlier [of the castle] to show my kids.” Like the bon vivant he is, jovially sipping Jack Daniels, he toasted everyone. The general consensus among the women, young and old (er) was that he, like Martin Kemp, keeps getting better with age. They showed their appreciation with loads of screams and declarations of love. Hadley endeared himself to fans doing the Stereophonics’ Dakota, while My Imagination and Take Back Everything showed off his talents as a songwriter, and he should write more. And with his powerful voice, he’d be a perfect choice for a 007 theme (after that dire piece of dull from Spectre, please, someone phone him).
He finished up with – what else – True and the Bond-ian Gold. A sea of even more pesky cameras went up, and Hadley glanced at his watch a few times because there was a 10pm curfew for the audience to be out. Must have been why things seemed rushed then and there was no encore presumably. A shame, as otherwise this was a diamond of a show.
words RHONDA LEE REALI photos EMMA LEWIS