|Midge Ure - one off gigs - Singapore||
URE - WOMAD SINGAPORE 1999
As printed on the ticket, "Rain Or Shine Event", I had my doubts about the weather (it rains on most evenings here this time of year). But miraculously, it was a cloudless night. I was armed only with a bottle of water and a Scottish flag but the atmosphere was simply brilliant. As Midge was the last act on the bill, the crowd waited patiently but the roar from them finally came at 11.40pm, right on schedule.
Midge and the band started off with 'I See Hope In The Morning Light', a track which emphasized a lot on Midge's vocal strength and Troy Donockley's uillean pipes. A string of tracks from his last album Breathe followed, 'Fields Of Fire' brought the tempo down a bit, but it was 'Free' that focused much on the magnificent drumming skills of young Russell Field. The cittern-backed 'Fallen Angel' and 'Sinnerman' came swiftly after that, but by this time the crowd were shouting for Ultravox. Their prayers were answered, Midge had told them that the next song was originally a collaboration between The Plugged (Ultravox) and The Unplugged (The Chieftains), and on came 'All Fall Down'. This was just a taster for more oldies to come. Another from Breathe followed, 'Guns And Arrows' in which Troy's perfect guitar work often brought Robert Fripp into mind. An old favourite 'Vienna' took the crowd off their feet as Josh Phillips, with his fingers sliding through the keyboard showed us that Billy Currie was not missed very much. Troy took the stage again, this time with his solo Celtic piece with the pipes just prior to 'Trail Of Tears'. 'Love's Great Adventure' had brought the crowd dancing closer to the stage and 'Breathe', which was a major hit here last year, had brought them singing through the chorus, undoubtedly the crowd's favourite. Finally, 'Hymn' took most of us back to the eighties, remembering "the power and the glory" of Ultravox.
The encore started with the band's bassist Dave Williamson tackling the bagpipes on 'May Your Good Lord', presenting his Scottish background and influence to the audience. And then, a finale of older tracks. 'Dancing With Tears In My Eyes' and Visage's 'Fade To Grey' brought an end to a spectacular evening.
Despite not playing the eagerly awaited 'Man Of Two Worlds' and the instrumentals 'The Chieftain/The Dancer', I had the most excellent time watching a highly talented band such as this perform. Midge and his cohorts had taken this WOMAD festival by storm. I'm sure many Singaporeans would want them to return and many would return the next day to watch Midge perform his solo finale, I know I will.
by Shafiz Yusof