Original image found at Retro Futura Tour
Back some months ago, I got a text from Dave2 of Blogography fame, asking if I was planning to go to Retro Futura. It was early in the morning, so I quickly Google’d this and quickly replied back “YES!” Tickets were purchased in mid May and the wait to September 6th started.
Speaking of Dave2, his review of Retro Futura was posted over a week ago. Go read his review of the concert then come back here and continue reading my review.
Seated and waiting for the show to start
Once Dave2 and I polished off our Shark Bite drinks, we headed over the concert venue – Sandy Amphitheater – and ended up being one of the first few people to get in. This helped as there was a merch table that we wanted to get our Thompson Twins goods right away. Except the merch table didn’t take credit cards… not even Square. It was a cash only setup. And there was no ATM at the venue. Our only option was to get cash from the concession stand. Again, we were happy to have been early as just 10 mins later, the line was 50+ people long. We found our seats, ran out to my car to take the Tom Bailey t-shirts and signed CDs so we wouldn’t have to keep track of them under our seats, then came back and waited for the show to start, which began promptly at 6pm.
Katrina (no more Waves)
Katrina was up first for her 30 min set of songs. A great set, she looked super and was as charming as she dealt with the blistering sun in her eyes and the heat of the early evening. Her last song just so happened to be “Walking On Sunshine”, which was a major new wave hit back many years ago. She sang it well and it took me back to a time when I didn’t mind hearing the song.
Without a line up change, the lead MC announced “Ladies and Gentlemen… China Crisis!” As it turns out, the first three bands all used the same guitarist, bass player and drummer. This was pretty cool as it meant we didn’t have to wait for the roadies to set up for the next band.
China Crisis started with “Arizona Sky” and blasted through their other hits “African and White”, “Black Man Ray”, “Wishful Thinking” and “King in a Catholic Style” in their allotted 30 minute set time. I hadn’t seen them live before, but knew their music from years ago. It was all very familiar.
Midge Ure (formerly of Ultravox)
And just minutes after China Crisis finished their set, Midge Ure came out, dressed in black and sporting his guitar, ready to entertain us. And boy, did he ever. His voice is stellar and has an incredible range. All of the songs he performed were excellent and it was awesome to hear him jam out the riffs as effortlessly as he always has. I sang along to “Vienna”, “Fade to Grey” and the set ending “Dancing With Tears in my Eyes”. I really like when an artist like Midge has been around for years and can still sing like not a year has passed.
Tom Bailey, performing Thompson Twins songs
And this is the main reason I wanted to attend Retro Futura – Tom Bailey, performing all of the Thompson Twins hits. This was not a complete reunion, mind you. Which meant no Alannah Currie or Joe Leeway would be popping up on stage to surprise us long time fans. Nope. But no worries. Tom assembled a great backing band whom he dubbed Sisters of Mercy. And this talented foursome started off with “In The Name of Love“, recreated today as if were being performed 27 years previously.
Tom Bailey, stage right
And the set list after this amazing opening was as follows:
- Sisters Of Mercy
- You Take Me Up
- If You Were Here
- Love on Your Side
- Doctor! Doctor!
- King For A Day
- Hold Me Now
Tom Bailey, stage left
Tom’s set was just under an hour. Of course I wanted more. But for what he played, it was all performed to perfection. I gleefully sang each and every verse and danced to each and every note. The stage presence that Tom had was great. For someone who hadn’t sang these songs for almost 30 years, he prepared himself quite well in rehearsals. He had re-recorded each of these songs to help him get back. And it obviously paid off.
Tom Bailey, on keyboard and guitar
I was happy to hear a calmer version of “King For A Day” as the first of two encore songs performed. It was always one of my long time favorites after I bought the album “Here’s To Future Days” and saw them live for that tour in late 1985.
A non-zoomed view from our seats to the stage – 10 rows back
And of course the concert closer of “Hold Me Now” was what the entire audience was waiting to hear. Performed as a piece of brilliant song that brought back so many plays of it on LP, cassette and later on CD.
The end of the show – Tom and the Sisters of Mercy
This show was something I was hoping would be amazing, and it was…. without any hesitation. Tom and his band were in fine form, performing the hits we all know… almost as well as Tom.
My hope is that Tom will be invigorated by this return to performing Thompson Twins songs and record some new material, hopefully new Thompson Twins songs. This fan can only hope.
It’s been years since I’ve seen Howard Jones in concert. He was an 80’s and 90’s modern music staple, constantly creating new music and performing his older hits. I had the chance to personally meet and chat with him back when I worked for X96, our local alternative FM station [which was at least 20 years ago]. I had front row seats to one of his shows. I saw him as one of the “tree people” at Park West. But in the years that I’ve not heard his music, I somehow forgot how many hits he had.
Howard Jones, in front of his keyboard
Once he started his set, all of the music and lyrics came back instantly and I started singing along, with no memory of forgetting his songs.
Howard Jones at his keyboard/synth
His set list was packed with his older hits, including some lessor known ones that radio didn’t play as much.
- The Human Touch
- Like to Get to Know You Well
- Everlasting Love
- No One Is to Blame
- The Prisoner
- What Is Love?
- Things Can Only Get Better
- New Song
My only issue with his set was how he re-interpreted several of the songs. With “Like To Get To Know You Well”, there was a repeated sing along with the audience. “What Is Love?” had more repeats of the song title than I could count. And “Things Can Only Get Better” injected some club mix into the whole song, taking it from a radio hit to awkward older people not sure what to do during the extended remix.
Howard and band bid farewell at the end of the show
Overall, this show was really good. Some bands I had never seen, some I knew their songs and some that I enjoyed hearing songs I thought I had forgotten. But it was Tom Bailey and his perfect set of older Thompson Twins songs that made me happy and made my night one I won’t forget anytime soon.