At the end of the 1970s momentous change was afoot in Britain and the world – in society, politics, fashion and culture – and the musical landscape was also about to change forever. The guitar-driven dominance that had propelled rock and punk throughout the decade was about to end, as synthesizers signalled the sound of the future and video transformed the look of the pop charts. The 1980s were about to explode into life and nothing would be the same again.
At the heart of this seismic leap into a futuristic new dawn were two records that set the template for much of what was to follow. Visage’s single ‘Fade To Grey’ from the band’s debut eponymous album and Ultravox’s single ‘Vienna’ from the album of the same name were global hits that shared the same stark ambience, European aesthetic and electronic heart. The albums that birthed those landmark singles expanded that sonic palette even further and brought the art-school alternative into the very centre of the mainstream.
Both records were co-written, recorded and produced by one of the leading characters in British music, Midge Ure, and not only transformed the charts around the globe but his life in the process.
Autumn 1979 was a pivotal point in my career trajectory,” Midge Ure explains. “Over the previous two years I had grown from ‘pop band’ (Slik) to ‘post punk band’ (The Rich Kids) to being a stand in guitarist for Thin Lizzy. Over the course of autumn into winter 1979, while working on the Visage project with Billy Currie, I was invited to join Ultravox. The work we did that winter on the ‘Vienna’ album was an exhilarating rush of creativity the likes of which I had never experienced before. “Forty years later I want to celebrate this period and as we pass from 2019 into 2020 play the ‘Vienna’ album in its entirety along with highlights from the eponymous ‘Visage’ album. Join me and my Band Electronica celebrating the year of release for both the Vienna and Visage albums....1980.
Four decades on, as we come towards the end of another turbulent decade, momentous change is once again afoot in Britain and the world. Can we face the next decade with the optimism and futuristic brightness that flooded the 1980s, and will there be a new cultural birth that will change music, fashion and society?
The 1980 Tour reminds us that these things are possible. Both ‘Vienna’ and ‘Visage’ were the sound of the future… and yet still sound unearthly, romantic, impossibly beautiful and full of promise.
Brought to life by Midge Ure and Band Electronica, this is the very first time in the 40 years since it was made that the ‘Vienna’ album will be performed in its entirety. It is also the first time that many of the songs from the debut Visage album will be played live.
The music will be performed in a stage setting designed to reflect the atmosphere and ambience the albums deserve.