Midge Ure is most famous for his Ultravox days but there is much more to him than being the voice of ‘Vienna’ and the audience are given the opportunity to delve into his extensive past in this question and answer session.

There is quite an unusual format to tonight’s event whereby audience members can tweet in questions to Ure or they can use the old-fashioned way and write them down on paper and hand them in. There is a further unusual twist in that tonight’s support are also the musicians making up Ure’s onstage band.

The support band are India Electric Company; a multi instrumental duo of some considerable ability. 

They played a set comprised of original material and some covers in their own style of modern folk music. The sound was polished, skilled and played on acoustic guitar, violin, accordion, piano and mandolin (not all at the same time obviously) along with vocal arrangements that further showcased their talent. The relatively short set was well received by the audience in a hall that was already well filled.

There was, thereafter, a short break before the main event and before too long Ure and his friends Joe and Cole from IEC took to the stage.

The stage was sparse, the lighting subdued and the welcome from the crowd was warm for this reluctant legend. The trio immediately stormed into a short set of acoustic versions of songs from the extensive back catalogue of the ex Ultravox front man before the first of the questions were answered.

From the off Midge states that he was suffering from a bit a throat and joked that Joe Dolce spiked his drink. 

I obviously don’t intend to go over every question but there were a few that took my attention; there were a few that cropped up over and over so they were cast aside by Midge. There was also the opportunity for the crowd to shout out song requests and I’m sure he waited till one was shouted out that he’d rehearsed (makes sense to me).

There were some questions answered before the first request was played and the pattern for the night was set out.

I must say that Midge has developed the same accent that a lot of Scots develop when regularly in the media spotlight in other countries... for reference think of Billy Connolly!

There are some potential spoilers in this review but it would be remiss of me not to include some of the show highlights but such is Ure’s back catalogue that he could literally play a different set and answer different questions every night.

“Which song generated the most money?”

This was an easy one even for me... “Do They Know it’s Christmas” of Live Aid fame has raised a mountain of money and continues to do so. Midge tells how those involved in the project were taken by surprise by the continued success of the song.

From a non-project point of view songs like ….. I won’t spoil it for anyone going to future shows - “Thank you for your cash!!” he joked!

The Joe Dolce story obviously got a lot of attention from Tweeters and promptly got short shrift from the main man. “I’ve spent half my life talking about him!” He stated that he wasn’t too bothered by the fact that a novelty song kept “Vienna’ off Number one in the UK charts because they had got to number two which was “brilliant” and continues to be so via royalties. He did have a funny story about Joe Dolce in later years though.

As a side note to the “Shaddap Your Face” scandal… Dolce wasn’t the only artist to keep “Vienna” off the number one spot. John Lennon and “Woman” also kept Ultravox in runners up spot; I suppose its easier to forgive John Lennon than Joe Dolce!! A lot of people are unaware of this fact and poor Mr Dolce gets it every time.

“Who are the best Scottish band ever?”

In short... “The Sensational Alex Harvey Band” was an answer that surprised much of the audience.

Between many of the questions such classics as “If I Was” and “Dancing with Tears in my Eyes” were played and sung loudly by the audience. I don’t see this as a spoiler as they are obvious choices for every show.

“What was/is your opinion of Freddie Mercury?”

Strangely and surprisingly he had only met Mercury once; the rest of the story I will leave out for spoiler reasons save for this little snippet… Mercury thought Midge was “that darling boy from The Boomtown Rats!!”

Still the requests and the songs kept coming until it was almost time to close the show. Songs like Visage’s “Fade to Grey” which many didn’t realised was co-written by Ure.

Before ending Ure had a classic tale to tell from Live Aid.

Because Live Aid was such a huge event they used Wembley Arena as changing and hospitality facilities. This meant shuttling bands and artists to and from Wembley Stadium. As the show finished Midge was in a minibus with the Status Quo guys who, apparently, were as funny as Hell. At some point on the short journey Rick asked Francis “Why are we feeding the Welsh?”

Tonight was an unusual event. Unusual but very enjoyable and I’d recommend to get along to one if you can. There are many bits I’ve had to leave out including his experience on tour with Thin Lizzy...

Totally worth the reasonable entry price but difficult to give a mark to as I’ve nothing to compare it with but I can safely say that it merits as many marks as I can give it. 

Was “Vienna” played?

Of course it was and what an amazing version it was. He may have had a troublesome throat but the boy done good!! The acoustic version with violin and mandolin is superb; it’s powerful, it’s emotional and it’s worth waiting for.



The Modern Record