Midge Ure – Live Review – York Grand Opera House
By Karl Hornsey, May 2022
After an unprecedented three years in which countless gigs and tours have been cancelled or postponed, Midge Ure finally returned to the stage at the Grand Opera House in York as part of his ‘Voice & Visions’ tour. The premise of the tour is to revisit the songs from two Ultravox albums of the early 1980s – Rage in Eden and Quartet – and, judging by the reaction from a packed theatre, it’s an idea that has gone down a storm.
The audience, which appeared to be made up largely from those who were around at the height of Ultravox’s powers, absolutely lapped it up, and it was easy to see why given how impressive the multi-talented Ure still is on stage.
Before the main event, support act India Electric Co. took to the stage, borrowing Midge Ure’s drummer as well, to showcase their delightful brand of folk/electro-pop, which may not be a genre as such, but best defines what they offer. And they’ve clearly impressed enough down the years, as they were then back again as the backing group behind Ure’s tour de force of a performance over the next hour and a half or so.
Before settling into the two albums in question, Ure sensibly opened with four songs that will be even more widely known to the audience – ‘Dear God’ from his 1988 album Answers to Nothing, ‘If I Was’ (his only UK solo number one), ‘Fade to Grey’, which he wrote the lyrics to while a member of Visage, and his 1982 cover of the Walker Brothers classic ‘No Regrets’.
And then it’s onto the songs from Rage in Eden and Quartet, including the singles released from those albums – ‘The Thin Wall’, ‘The Voice’, ‘Reap the Wild Wind’, ‘Hymn’, ‘Visions in Blue’ and ‘We Came to Dance’. All of which demonstrate just what an outstanding lyricist and musician Ure was and is, and how instrumental (if you’ll pardon the pun) Ultravox were as part of the synth-pop wave that dominated the early 80s. Despite the anthemic ‘Vienna’ having being released before those two albums, there was never any danger of it being left off the playlist, along with ‘All Stood Still’ to close the show.
Even with his 70th birthday on the horizon later this year, Ure still possesses an outstanding voice, able to project his lyrics just as well as in his heyday, and his prowess as a guitarist of the highest level was there for all to see.
With some singers and bands from the 80s the game should have been up long ago, but there’s no suggestion that Ure should end his touring days any time soon at all. And, as it happens, he’ll be making a swift return to Yorkshire as part of a gruelling schedule this month, with performances in Bradford on the 11th and Hull on the 12th still to come.