Midge Ure heartfelt acoustic performance Glen Cove, NY 2-25-15

Midge Ure heartfelt acoustic performance Glen Cove, NY 2-25-15

One of the most distinctive voices during the 1980s New Wave era came from Scottish singer-songwriter James “Midge” Ure. Achieving international success over the past four plus decades, Ure has been associated with such acts as Silk, Thin Lizzy, Rich Kids, and Visage, and is most recognized as lead singer/guitarist of Ultravox. While Ure is clearly a household name in the sub-genre, it may have slipped the mind of the mainstream that Ure also co-wrote and produced the unforgettable charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and was a co-organizer of 1985’s Live Aid concert. Diving into a solo career in 1985, Ure has comfortably found happiness creating music through the years with Ultravox, returning to the band for the 2012 album, Brill!ant. Keeping his creative juices flowing, Ure excited audiences in 2014 with his first solo album of original material in over a decade, titled Fragile, released via the independent European label, Hypertension, on July 4, 2014. Now, after a summer of touring North America as a part of the Retro Futura Tour 2014 along side Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Katrina of Katrina and The Wave, and China Crisis, Ure is trying something different by hitting the road for some special, intimate, acoustic performances. Having grown exhausted of the crumbling music industry, Ure’s decision to take on this tour is a testament to his dedication to music for music’s sake as he tries to set an example for the younger generation. For fans, this was a once in a lifetime experience to see the beloved Ure perform in such up close and personal settings. That is why, on Wednesday, February 25th, many made the trip out to see Ure at his appearance at The View Grill Restaurant at Glen Cove Golf Course on the North Shore of Long Island, New York. Despite the off-the-beaten path location and fridge-like temperatures, the event was packed as everyone took their seats for an evening of dinner and music with none other than Midge Ure.

As an appetizer to the main event, Ure brought along supporting act V. Nigel Taylor. Originally based out of Rhode Island, Taylor is an actor, singer, songwriter, and composer who has been on the scene for quite a while. Having fronted a handful of projects, he now works both solo and with his band, Platform One, based out of New York. Walking to the front of the room, Taylor took his acoustic guitar, introduced himself, and began with a cover of The Church’s “Under The Milky Way.” Possessing a strong voice and engaging personality, Taylor kept the audiences attention as he played on with some favorite tracks, even doing his best Peter Murphy impersonation. Be sure to check him out with Platform One at the Steampunk World’s Faire in Piscataway, New Jersey, the weekend of May 15th-17th.

After a brief intermission, guests ordered their dinners, replenished their drinks, and prepared for Ure to begin his set. Former local legend of WLIR and current SirusXM First Wave DJ, Larry The Duck, received a warm welcome as he introduced Ure, getting the performance on the way. As Ure took the stage he began with 1991 track, “Waiting Days,” before going into 1986’s “Call of the Wild,” which immediately had everyone putting down their forks and focusing their ears on the music. Offering a nice mix of his classic solo material, Ure went into “Dear God” and “Breathe” before breaking the mood down into an even more personal experience as he spoke with the crowd. As a man who has lived to tell the story of his personal struggles, in 2012 he had published his autobiography, If I Was, and has seemed to find tranquility. With that said, his latest album, Fragile, seems to expose the artist’s feelings more vividly, and he brought that to the audience of The View Grill, introducing the song fittingly titled “I Survived.” Connecting with everyone on a deep level, Ure then went into new Ultravox tune, “Brilliant,” before introducing another song from Fragile called “Tumbling Down.” As someone who has always been socially aware, Ure provided the story behind the latter song, stating that his inspiration was the destruction of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989. A brief piece performed in a 1930s cabaret style, Ure captured a moment that will not soon be forgotten. Keeping the mood light, Ure poked fun at the fact that he was playing so many new songs, and how it was probably a time many would escape to the rest room, but they did not.

Taking his time and not rushing through the performance, Ure allowed the audience’s food, as well the music, to digest slowly as he spoke affectionately about his influences, moving into David Bowie classic, “Lady Stardust.” It was during this portion of the evening where Ure allowed plenty of time between songs, conversating with the room, cracking jokes, and reflecting on the past. Sure to quench the thirst of long-time supporters, he mixed in Ultravox’s protest style piece, “All Fall Down,” before the relaxing “Let it Rise,” which was originally a collaboration with Germany’s Schiller back in 2010. The tone of his voice was as pronounced, strong, and continuously vital going into “Light in Your Eyes,” “Guns and Arrows,” and another Ultrvox piece, “Lament.” With the sudden and shocking news that friend and former bandmate, Steve Strange of Visage, had passed away two weeks prior at the young age of fifty-five, a heavy hearted Ure dedicated the song “Fade to Grey” in his memory.

As Ure kept the evening intriguing, perhaps some of the most memorable moments outside the music were his observations of the modern world, whether it be the fact that many would rather stare into the screen of their cellphones to take images at a concert instead of watch the actual concert, or how there are simply no outlets for physical format music anymore. Sad but true, Ure’s introspective yet sarcastic tone had everyone smiling and relating on a number of levels. Saving some of the favorites for the tail end of the night, Ure played Ultravox hit, “Vienna,” before new songs “Become” and “If I Was,” before closing with the signature “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes.” Rather than go through the ordeal of walking off the stage only to return moments later, Ure went directly into an encore that featured new title track, “Fragile,” as a prelude to Ultravox’s 1981 hit, “The Voice.”

His unmistakable humanity bled through most prominently in this unusual but intimate setting. At this point in Ure’s career, he does not trouble himself with record sales or massive tours. He is doing he has always done, and that is writing music that he loves. His sincerity at The View Grill made each and every attendee feel as if they were family rather than merely spectators. Taking a brief moment to unwind after his lengthy set, Ure was greeted by a slew of fans inside the restaurant who stuck around, eager to meet him, have him sign their favorite LP’s, and tell him how special the performance was to them. With his winter string of solo dates completed, hopes are that Ure will be back around sometime soon by himself or perhaps with Ultravox. Either would be perfectly satisfying to followers and Ure proves that all these years later, he still has some of his best music ahead of him.

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