I've been a big fan of Ultravox, in all it's incarnations, since the age of 12 (I'm now 47) and have seen them perform live many times. When the group imploded in the late 1980's, along with pretty much every Ultravox fan alive, I thought that was it and so moved on to other things, but taking the fine music of this excellent band with me.
Then in 2009, they reformed to do a series of concerts to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the writing of their seminal hit "Vienna". I was unable to make it to any of these dates and was totally gutted, as I didn't think there would be anything more after the tour finished - the group had certainly intimated as such. But hey-ho, being a grown-up (allegedly) etc I dealt with it.
And then a new album appeared in 2012 and what a stonking piece of work it was!!! The "Brilliant" album heralded another tour and this time, through a couple of good friends, I had a ticket :-D But, as those who are close to me and those who follow this blog will know, I'm not one for letting the slightest of opportunities slip by. Through good grace, my own musical and photographic endeavours and a bit of good fortune, I have come into contact with a good many people who reside on the upper plane of the U.K. music scene, and I approached one of these people with a simple request to photograph the Ultravox stage set. I wasn't really interested in taking pictures of the band as such, plenty of other people do that and I really didn't think for one minute they would go for that, no, it was the equipment that garnered my interest, fuelled by my visits to the synth studios of the likes of Ben Edwards and Kevin Kendle.
To my utter delight and complete astonishment, I was given the green light a few days before the gig and so I prepped The Fuji ready for the afternoon that lay ahead.
I was met outside the Ipswich Regent Theatre (formerly the Gaumont) by Ultravox's director of lighting, Chris Curran, given my pass and shown through to the auditorium where the road crew were still prepping for the evening concert. I was introduced to the tour manager and sound mixer and then shown the lighting desks used by Chris Curran. The big surprise of the day was Chris saying that I would be able to watch Ultravox do their soundcheck - and it was indeed a true pleasure.
Once the soundcheck was done, Chris took me up to the stage whereupon I was introduced to the road crew, who I have to say were a great bunch of people, very friendly, interested in what I was doing, suggested possible shots and took the piss out of me - when one of them asked if I got out much, you should have heard their reaction when I told them about a fascinating little train station I had visited previously with a lovely diesel locomotive that had interesting numbers!!!
All too soon, it was time to go - I could have spent ages snapping and chatting, not least with keyboard tech Roger Lyons. It was quite an afternoon and I'm happy with the photos that came from it and you can see below.
The concert in the evening was magnificent. Ultravox performed a two and a half hour set of great music and their performance was as polished and professional as I could recall. Even when Billy Currie's Mac computer stopped working during "One Small Day", the other three carried on as if nothing had happened with Midge ure joking at the end of the song about our being lucky to see the only time that we would see Ultravox performing as a three piece. I wasn't able to get any photos from the evening performance as the security detail confiscated my camera until after the concert. No complaints though as I had been more than very fortunate to get pictures that few others would have done earlier in the day.
A huge thanks goes out to Chris Curran, Berenice Hardman and Ultravox for a great afternoon- you made an aging fan very happy :-)
Ultravox Stage Set, Ipswich, October 2012, a set on Flickr.