Spandau Ballet fans may have to wait several more years to see the band in concert again but fans can enjoy their hits at the Wickham Festival.
Lead singer Tony Hadley tops the bill on the opening night (Aug 4) with a promise to play all the crowd-pleasers alongside his solo material at the picturesque Hampshire site.
It means fans will get the best of both worlds, enjoying some new songs as well as classics such as Gold, True and Through the Barricades.
Hadley said: “There may be a couple of new songs but we will be doing all the hits. That’s what people want. You have to remember festivals are a celebration, they are about having a good time.
“It is no good me playing 15 songs off my new album; you have to give the fans what they want to hear.
“I have seen people crying during ‘Through the Barricades’ because it brings back so many memories, sometimes painful ones as it is quite a poignant song. And then you see guys cuddling up to their partner during True.
“I never get tired of playing those songs. Why would I? I really don’t understand it when bands don’t play their biggest hits.
“It is mental, suicidal – crazy! I don’t know what gets into artists’ heads when they do that. Why dismiss what got you there?
“If you are a new band, that is different. But if you are an established artist then give the people what they want to hear. I never have a problem with that. We would be shot if we did not do the hits!”
Those, of course, are plentiful with Spandau Ballet an almost permanent fixture in the charts during the New Romantic boom of the early Eighties before a well-publicised split over royalties in 1990.
However in 2009 – to the delight and astonishment of their fans – the band announced they were re-forming for a world tour which sold out within minutes.
It proved so successful that they repeated it in 2015 but fans could face a similar wait for the next reunion.
“It could be four or five years before we get together as Spandau Ballet again – it was last time. We all have our own things to do – but it is great fun when we do get together.
“We have just finished a big tour – and it was big. We went round the world and did a lot of big arenas in the UK which was fantastic.
“When we first re-formed it was amazing to see these big venues selling out in a matter of minutes and it was great to know we still meant so much to people.
“Spandau Ballet is a very different animal to my band. It is much more structured so it is a very different kind of show.
“With my band there are no rules, we just have fun. I can interpret songs differently and it is maybe more relaxed although still polished. With Spandau we have to have a very specific sound which is a whole different ball game.
“We all get on OK now – after that 20-year hate period! It is well documented that we had a massive fall-out but we have recovered from that and we are all very pleased it has happened.
“Of course it is never quite the same as it was – but then you have to remember we were schoolkids when we started out.
“It wasn’t easy to put it all behind us. It took me months to get my head round it, wondering can I do this again? But it has worked out well.
“We had a big reunion tour in 2009/10 and again in 2015. We made a successful film together
“I guess we may well do it again in a few years – but who knows? Any one of us could drop dead – it has been a bad year for losing artists. It is so sad.”
After recently finishing a major world tour with Spandau Ballet, the 56-year-old is enjoying working on his own material which will be released just as soon as he stops adding to it!
“I am still working on my new solo album. I say still working… I thought I had finished it but I keep writing songs!
“I have just written another which we might put as a summer release single – and I have just written one with Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols which is really good. And there are a couple of others on the boil too.
“The idea is to bring out another Christmas album and then release my solo album next spring. And maybe a full orchestral album too. And I have just recorded new song for the Eddie the Eagle movie.
“So things are pretty busy right now with the summer festivals coming up followed by the orchestral concerts.”
This year Hadley will go from one extreme to the other with his live gigs. After playing the homely Wickham Festival (among others) he then plays some autumn dates – including the Royal Albert Hall – with a 50-piece orchestra to back up his band.
“It is hard to say whether I prefer big venues or festivals or more intimate gigs as they are all so different.
“It is great fun working with an orchestra because you can get all the nuances of the music and a much bigger sound. But then festivals are much more rock and roll.
“I’m not sure we would get a full orchestra on the stage at Wickham! But I will have the band and I have to say they are excellent. I have known them for years and we are going to put on a great show.”
So how does the set-list vary from festivals to full shows?
“Festivals are often a shorter time-line so we have to do the hits and then see what else we have time for whereas the full shows are usually an hour and a half to two hours so they are a different pace.
“At a festival, you just go for the jugular and it is a much faster pace. With the orchestra it is very different. It is much more measured – but I do love rocking out!
“I love festivals… they are so much fun. Everyone comes to have a good time. They come for a good day out – to eat, have a good drink and to see some great music.
“There is always a good atmosphere so I love doing them, whether they are in Denmark, Italy or Wickham.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Wickham though I have heard good things. I know it was voted the best small festival at the Live Music awards so I am looking forward to seeing it for myself. I have heard there is a really good atmosphere and there is a terrific line-up this year.
“I know Trevor Horn well so I know that will be a good set and there is a good mix of bands which should make for a great event.”
Hadley tops the bill on Thursday August 4 then the following night the Stranglers and Bruce Foxton’s From the Jam will be the main attractions at the event which was voted best Festival (Under 15,000 capacity) at last year’s Live UK Music Business awards.
Headlining on Saturday will be the SAS Band with a line-up which will include Queen drummer Roger Taylor, former Marillion lead singer Fish, Madeline Bell and solo artist/actress Toyah Willcox before Lindisfarne close the four-day event on Sunday August 7.
Weekend tickets are £160 or £80 for Under 16’s with Under 10’s admitted free. Day tickets for Friday, Saturday or Sunday can be bought for £60 (£30 Under 16’s) while evening tickets (after 6pm) are £40 (£20). Details at www.wickhamfestival.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org