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New wave pioneer channels past and present
during first ever American tour

Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet
House of Blues Sunset Strip
West Hollywood, CA
August 16, 2011
Tony Hadley Tony Hadley Tony Hadley

Story and photos by Andy Argyrakis

What do David Bowie's "Life On Mars?" The Killers' "Somebody Told Me" and Spandau Ballet's "To Cut a Long Story Short" have in common? Aside from still sounding relevant (despite the age of the former and latter), all three songs were sung by Tony Hadley during his first ever American tour and he magically made each sound like his own.

Granted, as the singer for Spandau Ballet, it would only seem natural for him to spin a seamless new wave web around that act's most celebrated selections, but in solo contexts, his rearrangements resembled a much firmer Brit rock backbone. Throughout timeless ballads like "True" and "Through the Barricades," the normally soulful saxophone solos were replaced by electric guitars, while "Only When You Leave" and "Lifeline" were even more robust in delivery, thanks in part to the hard hitting percussion of fellow Spandau member John Keeble.

However, there were plenty of surprises around the corner from the debonair neo romantic, who traded predictable nostalgia for fresh interpretations of several surprising covers. Whether it was the Foo Fighters' "Learn To Fly," U2's "With Or Without You," Queen's "Somebody To Love" or even Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds," Hadley didn't just demonstrate enormous diversity behind the mic, but also took full command of such classics.

He even quipped at one point "theregs this rumor going around that I don't like Duran Duran, but that's simply not true" before launching into his supposed rival's "Rio." Though that sincerely seemed the case, Hadley could've unequivocally clobbered the venerable Simon LeBon in the vocals department as he joyfully sent fans back in time to the decade of decadence.

Along with a handful of unnamed previews from his next swinging solo project and a show stopping finale of the new wave nugget "Gold," it's absolutely inexplicable why this arena-filling British favorite isn't equally popular in America. Hopefully this long delayed Stateside introduction will give Hadley some much deserved momentum to display his perfectly preserved pitch and charming charisma to the masses.

Tony Hadley Tony Hadley
Tony Hadley Tony Hadley
John Keeble
John Keeble

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