Monthly Archive: April 2010

Ultravox ‘Return to Eden Part II’ @ Symphony Hall Birmingham, 6th April 2010

Review for Birmingham Live!

Nostalgia for the past is quite common these days – and the market for comeback gigs means many (good and bad) bands are now out on the road. Some come out with fanfares and mass marketing campaigns. And others, like Ultravox, appear quietly on the scene.

Formed in 1974, Ultravox reformed last year to play the “Return of Eden” tour, with the post John Foxx,  “classic line-up” of Midge Ure, Billie Currie, Chris Cross and Warren Cann on drums. It was the first time the band had played live since Live Aid in 1985.  And the band had been clear – this is a nostalgia tour, for the fans – no plan to record new music.

Cleary a success, the show last year at the Symphony Hall sold out – this tour is Part 2, a small European tour starting once again at the Symphony Hall being the first date.  The venue with its amazing acoustics suit Ultravox to the ground.

They don’t look much like a band these days – more like your old chemistry teachers, until that is, they play live. Ultravox were always a tad serious and this tour is no different. The band were tight and Midge’s voice had lost none of its power, able to hit all the notes.

From the new wave, Kraftwerk inspired, earlier songs like “Hymn” and “The Thin Wall” which clearly fall to the dark side of industrial sound, to the more commercial apocalyptic of “Dancing with Tears in My Eyes”, they covered the range of hits from this classic time – playing all the songs the audience expected.

And the majestic “Vienna” (which in 1981 famously failed to get to No. 1) and the haunting “Visions in Blue”, they certainly transport you back in time.

If you expected a time warp, a reminder of the past 80’s classics, where the then new cutting edge technology of the “synth” gave a different if limited sound – you got that. And maybe one or two of the songs hadn’t quite stood the test of time. But you also got a cracking gig, with the audience up on their feet participating and the band receiving a rousing reception.

And for the final song “The Voice”,  the band close to a drumming finale, with Midge, Chris and Billie bashing the hell out of snare drums, at the front in time to Warren, all atmospherically backlit.

If you like Ultravox, or even one or two of their hits, they do not fail to disappoint. They are well worth the ticket price of £32 – for a cracking night out. You will come away smiling.

Enjoyed the gig? Ultravox live at the Roundhouse released 5th April 2010, and according the Midge last night…”Live CD charted today… how cool is that?”



  1. New Europeans
  2. Passing Strangers
  3. We Stand Alone
  4. Mr. X
  5. Visions in Blue
  6. The Thin Wall
  7. I Remember (Death in the Afternoon)
  8. Astradyne
  9. Rage in Eden
  10. Hymn
  11. Lament
  12. One Small Day
  13. All Stood Still
  14. White China
  15. Vienna
  16. Reap the Wild Wind
  17. Dancing with Tears in My Eyes


18. Love’s Great Adventure

19. Sleepwalk

20. The Voice


There is also a facebook campaign, to get “Vienna” to No.1

Vienna No1 campaign – buy until Saturday 10th April 2010!!!!