My friends and I have a term for a surprising memory, such as hearing someone’s name that you haven’t thought of in years or a movie that you can’t believe you last saw over 20 years ago: a Leonard. I don’t remember exactly where this term came from, but I can tell you that the Retro Futura Tour on Saturday night at The Mountain Winery was Leonard Heaven.
First on the bill, and the main draw for my friend Dave was Midge Ure. If you’re not familiar with Ure, you might know him as the lead singer of Ultravox (“Vienna”). He also co-wrote “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and organized Live Aid with Bob Geldof. Is it just me, or does Geldof get all the credit for that? Ure was on fine form, his voice sounding every bit as good as ever, though he seemed a little irritated to be playing to so many empty seats. Ure’s set was fairly short, but he and his backing band sounded great.
There was no intermission before the next artist, Katrina Leskanich (of Katrina and the Waves), who was playing in the US for the first time in decades. She played with the same band who supported Midge Ure (I suspect they are her band). Leskanich said that she’s been first on the bill for the rest of the tour and seemed a bit embarrassed at going on after Ure, who was leaving immediately to fly to London for another show. Leskanich still sounds good and is a high-energy performer, but since the only song I knew was her hit “Walking on Sunshine”, her set didn’t transport me to my youth; nor did it make me crave her new music.
Next up was Howard Jones. I was amazed at how many of his songs I knew. I never owned any of his records or tapes in the 80s, but he sure had a lot of hits! The audience was really excited by his set, singing and dancing throughout. I didn’t go to many concerts in the 80s, so it was interesting to see HoJo’s stage set-up, with two synths and an orange electric drum kit…not a guitar to be seen!
In my opinion, the best was saved for last: Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins. I absolutely loved this band in the early 80s. The only birthday present I remember getting when I turned 14 was the Into the Gap cassette. The band hasn’t been together in years, and although Bailey is still involved with music, this tour is the first time he’s sung these songs in almost 30 years. Backed by a rocking all-woman band, Bailey’s set totally transported me to 1984. I was so happy and in the moment during the entire set, and so glad I’d gone out to this show.
Isn’t it funny what music does? Looking around at the crowd, there was so much joy. I don’t think anyone at the concert was thinking about work, money, family problems, or anything at all, except “I love this song!” and “I feel like I’m back in high school” and “this reminds me of my first dance”.
Retro Futura Tour: What a Leonard!
Here are some more photos of the night — since I’m using a camera phone and we were pretty far from the stage, these aren’t the greatest, so I just had some fun editing the images.