Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe have got a busy night tonight (more later) but before all that, they and drummer Russell Field (“three halves of the same whole” as Midge Ure puts it) have got India Electric Company business to attend to. Actually, although it seems unfair to start with a cover, their take on “I’m On Fire” by some chap who was born in the USA, sums them up. Stripped back, atmospheric, ambitious but crucially made their own. “Parachutes” and the almost jazz, “Lost In Translation” are excellent, best of all, however, is “Statues” which sees Stacey, jump for joy in excitement, but also play the world’s smallest keyboard, which is both tremendous fun and entirely in keeping with the ethos of a band that is compelling, skilled and original.

Midge Ure only plays one cover song this evening. He does a version of Tom Rush’s “No Regrets”. Telling the crowd before he plays it that he’d first heard it when he was on Top Of The Pops in 1976 and vowed to “do it justice when I was allowed to do what I wanted”.

A couple of things spring out of that. Firstly, he does it justice, of course he does. Like everything he plays here, together with his band Cole Stacey, Joseph O’Keefe and Russell Field (remember them?) it is from the very top draw, but more than that: the date. 47 years ago. And the crowd he tells? It’s filled the Symphony Hall. There’s only one way that happens: you’ve got songs that connect with generations and you can still play them wonderfully.

They’d arrived onstage with the rather plaintive cry of “Dear God” as if they’d been searching in the void for something, anything, that made sense. What they found, I’d venture was music.

What follows, a rocked-up version of “If I Was”, and a glorious “Fade To Grey” from his Visage days (“that took some of you back to [Birmingham Nightclub] The Rum Runner, don’t pretend you were too young!”, he jokes) before what he terms ‘a delve into deep, dark history” for “The Voice”, the first Ultravox song of the evening.

It’s worth remembering here that this tour was originally scheduled for years ago but got shunted because of the pandemic and was slated to be a celebration of the mid-period of Ultravox, and there’s some stunning stuff here, notably “The Thin Wall”, which has some incredible guitar from Ure and strings from O’Keefe. Ure speaks of how he’s reconnected and immersed himself in the songs (as well as having to buy the records as he didn’t own them!). The results including “I Remember (Death In The Afternoon)” and the dark grandiosity of “Your Name (Has Slipped My Mind Again)” are evidently worth the investment.

It’s interesting to watch the audience’s reaction too. These are as much their history as Ure’s after all and “Reap The Wild Wind” is a favourite for sure, the man himself though, is happily playing the power chords for “Mine For Life” and ushering in “We Came To Dance” on the back of some screeching synths.

The set ends with a brilliant version of “Hymn” – which becomes almost euphoric – and “Visions In Blue” which is hypnotic, before the lengthy encore.

“Astradyne” sees the band let themselves go once more, to fine effect. Then there’s the small matter of “Vienna”. I was five years old in February 1981, but I can remember it being everywhere, listening to it here as a man of not far off 50, you are struck by just how stunning a track it is and how much it still means to people.

As if as a deliberate reaction to that there’s a real hard rock flavour to “Tears In My Eyes” but there’s a communal feel to the quasi-disco of “All Stood Still”. There’s a glib ending here, where you just write “but of course for Midge Ure that wasn’t an option” and given how many styles, flavours and textures this had, that is true as well, but even more he needs to play these songs. Time and again he thanks the audience for “protecting live music” and these songs need to be heard live, just like this.

There’s an incredible musicianship, a palpable warmth, plus an ability to write songs that have a lasting bond with people on show here. For Midge Ure, and for this audience, this mattered now, just as much as it ever did.

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