MANILA, Philippines – “If I hadn’t joined Spandau Ballet, I would have been with Duran Duran,” was the startling confession that Tony Hadley (lead singer and the voice of Spandau Ballet) made last time we talked over Pampango delicacies like Camaro (fried locust), Betute (fried frogs) and Begukan (sweet binagoongan). He loved the food but drew the line when I dared him to try balut.
In 1976, a group of schoolmates formed a band called The Cut, which shortly morphed to The Makers and played punk music. Having limited success, they changed names again two years later to Spandau Ballet. The name was suggested by a DJ friend who saw the name scrawled in the toilet of a Berlin nightclub.
The name is a reference to Spandau prison in Berlin where hangings took place back in the communist years. Besides changing the band name, Tony, John Keeble, Steve Norman, Gary Kemp and Martin Kemp changed their music from punk to more mainstream electronic pop, thus the era of the new romantics started.
From 1978 to 1989, Spandau Ballet released six million selling albums and 13 Top 10 singles and toured endlessly. In 1989, the brothers Gary and Marty pursued acting careers and starred in several movies like the Krays and the much-ballyhooed Whitney Houston movie The Bodyguard which eventually caused the band to break up. Tony, Steve and John continued touring as “Hadley, Keeble & Norman ex-Spandau Ballet.” They couldn’t call themselves Spandau Ballet because Gary registered and owned the name and he refused to let them use it. A bitter court battle ensued between once-upon-a-time close friends and bandmates.
Fast-forward to two decades later and both Tony and Gary have teenaged kids who hung around together. They had an ultimate goal of reuniting their fathers’ music legacy which took a good two years to plan.
In 2009, the reunion happened and was called the Reformation Tour. Initially, the plan was to do 13 shows just in the UK at mega venues like the 02 Arena in London.
When tickets went on sale for concert dates six months in the future, die-hard Spandau Ballet fans gobbled up all the tickets within 20 minutes of going online.
Because of the tremendous success, the tour got extended to 2010 and covered four continents. Thirty-nine sold-out concerts all in all with Tears For Fears as the opening act.
After the blockbuster two-year tour and a new album called Once More, Spandau Ballet went on hiatus again.
Tony never stopped working and even reinvented himself as a total performer doing DJ work, TV appearances and even appearing on Broadway musicals on top of keeping the Spandau Ballet legacy alive. Recently, he ventured in brewery, producing an excellent brew called Hadley beer.
On March 28, Tony together with his band will treat his Pinoy fans to a night of Spandau Ballet music, featuring the songs that made him a legend like Gold, True, Only When You Leave, Thru The Barricades, I’ll Fly For You, Round and Round and other Spandau Ballet hits, plus a sprinkling of some Duran Duran songs like
Tony’s one-night show in Manila is presented by Steve O’ Neal Productions and Solaire Resort and Casino in collaboration with Philippine Airlines, HDI, Telenovela channel, IBC 13, 2nd Avenue, Jack TV, DZBB, Energy FM, Hard Rock Café, RCBC and the official concert station RJ 100.3 FM. Tickets are on sale at all Ticketworld, Ticketnet, SM Tickets and outlets, and at the concierge of Solaire Resort & Casino.