City Hall, Newcastle

21 March 1988

Thirty Years Later

T'Pau had put out a superb rock album, Bridge of Spies, and after a surprise hit single were suddenly headlining City Hall. I'm not sure if anybody knew what to expect; most of us in the audience had never heard them live before, probably most of us had not even known their name a year before, and I'll bet a lot of people there only knew one song. Such is the power of a hit single.

Looking back, I can't remember a lot of detail from the gig, but I do remember thinking they were a great band. I think they played the entire album, and I know they played China in Your Hand twice. I remember Carol Decker saying, when they came back on for an encore, that they would have to play it again as they didn't know anything else.

Carol Decker had a warm and friendly personality on stage, and was quite humble, as if she couldn't believe they were playing a gig this big (a contrast with the second time I saw her). The rest of the band was obviously good, though I can't remember details now. I do remember that in the middle of the set Decker left the stage (to change her dress, I think) and the band played I'm a Believer, the guitar player singing. At the time I thought this was weird, as we were all there to hear Decker singing, but with hindsight I think it was to show us that they were a band, not Carol Decker with some backing musicians, and I think I would appreciate something like that more these days.

Their songs relied a lot on multi-tracked vocals, and I have no idea how they reproduced that on stage—though they obviously did, as I don't recall being disappointed.

Also, I don't know how else they filled a headline set, there must have been more than one album's worth of songs, one cover, and a repeat for the encore. And they weren't a band that had huge rambling keyboard or guitar solos. Obviously they did it, but I am completely blank on how.

And that's about all I can say. Obviously I liked the gig, at least enough to go and see them again a year or two later.