Monday, 27 October 2014

Midge Ure - A musician worth celebrating

Last night, my good lady and I were at the Lowry Theatre in Salford to listen to a singer who, more than any other musician, has provided the soundtrack of my life.
The one and only Mr MIDGE URE (cheering and applause should now ensue!)

Reap the Wild Wind was the first single I ever bought (followed closely by Hymn) and Ultravox was the very first band I ever got 'into' as a teenager - since then, I've never really been 'out of them' - they're there on the iPod, popping up for a sing along when I'm in the car, be it The Voice, Vienna, Love's Great Adventure or One Small Day.
Once hooked by the unique techno-sound (and their brilliant videos), I studiously bought all their previous singles (including Passing Strangers which I didn't particularly like), and played them constantly.

When the Lament album came out in 1984, I played it constantly - Lament (the single) remains my favourite song of all time. I remember vividly how disappointed I was when Dancing with Tears in my Eyes didn't make it to number 1 (got as high as number 3, if I remember correctly).

In 1985, Midge brought out a solo album called The Gift which I also played constantly, much to the chagrin of my then girlfriend who, by the time U-VOX (and the excellent All Fall Down) came out in 1986, had moved on to a new pair of tights (her loss).
In addition to the brilliant If I Was (which gave Midge a No.1), The Gift also has great tracks like That Certain Smile, Antilles and Edo.
Then came another solo album - Answers to Nothing - which contains a track called Lied. Now this has always been a source of annoyance to me. Lied is one of the best songs Midge has ever written, yet it was never released as a single and, sadly, Midge has never performed it live at any of the gigs I've attended (though he has performed it live in the past, as the video below demonstrates!!)

And yes,  I've been to a lot of Midge gigs, starting with Manchester Apollo in 1990(ish) - when, annoyingly, Wendy and I had to leave before the end because we had a train to catch, having endured what seemed like an eternity listening to a terrible support band called 'The Picture'.
Since then, Midge has been producing cracking tracks like Move Me - Cold, Cold Heart - and the utterly fabulous Breathe.

And, over that same period, Wendy and I have seen him perform at Blackburn (4 times), Kendal, Bolton, Salford (twice) as well as the Ultravox revival of 2012 with the Brilliant album in Blackpool (which Wendy missed because she was ill, much to the delight of my sister who came along instead!!)
And every time Midge has been utterly stupendous.
He may now be over 60 (hard to believe/accept, I know), but by Christ he can still belt out a hell of a tune and whether its just Midge and a guitar (as it was last night), or Midge and a synthesiser (as it was when he performed at King Georges Hall and played some of what my wife referred to as his 'weird' stuff), he is the consummate professional.
And to top it all, Midge has given us a new album, Fragile, and the excellent track, Become.

So there you have it - my short homage to a fabulous musician whose music, more than anyone else's, I've sung along to over the last 30 years, who I've been to watch more times than anyone else, and who's CDs take up more space on the shelf and on my iPod than any other artist.
Hopefully he'll be back in Manchester next year, and the year after that…if and when he is, I'll be there!!

And hopefully he'll play Lied!!