Midge Ure at My Father’s Place at the Roslyn Hotel
My Father’s Place at the Roslyn Hotel
September 17, 2018
“If I could give my younger self one piece of advice, I’d tell me to not write songs sung in such a high register. It gets harder to hit the high notes as I get older.” So stated Midge Ure, the Scottish guitarist, singer, keyboard player, and songwriter when he performed a solo acoustic, but plugged-in show at Long Island’s My Father’s Place at The Roslyn Hotel. Though Ure is getting older, he can still definitely hit the high notes, as he proved over and over on this damp but pleasant Monday evening in mid-September
During his career, Ure has won many awards including a Grammy® while recording a number of gold and platinum albums and singles. He is also famous for having, along with Bob Geldorf, written "Do The Know Its Christmas?" and for co-organizing Live Aid and Live 8. In 2005, Queen Elizabeth appointed Ure as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to music and charity.
Touring (along with fellow ‘80s hitmaker Paul Young) behind Orchestrated (BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd, 2018), an album featuring stunningly reimagined orchestrated versions of his best-known and loved songs, Ure celebrated the end of the tour with Young to play a few solo performances, including one at the brand new, resurrected version of the legendary Long Island venue, My Father’s Place.
My Father's Place was originally opened in Roslyn, New York in 1971 by Michael “Eppy” Epstein. The New York Times stated that the venue influenced music for decades to come. During its original existence which came to an end in 1987, My Father’s Place helped launch the careers of then-unknown artists including: Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Aerosmith, U2, The Police and Tom Petty. Comedians Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy, Andy Kaufman and many others also graced the stage when they were just starting out. In November 2017, it was announced that the famous club was making a comeback and that Epstein along with Dan Kellachan (who would handle the General Manager’s duties) had entered into an agreement with The Roslyn Hotel to revive the My Father’s Place brand. The new club opened on June 29, 2018 with Buster Poindexter as its headlining act. Since that time, My Father’s Place at The Roslyn Hotel has hosted established acts such as Ure, Robert Gordon, The Blasters, Brand X, Garland Jeffrieys and Glenn Tilbrook as well as up-and-coming artists such as Carrie & The Cats and Brandon "Taz" Niederauer. Niederauer, The Reverend Horton Heat, Bettye Lavette and many others are scheduled for upcoming concerts.
The evening opened with a short but strong set by Long Island native Mark Newman. The former sideman to John Oates, Jim McCarty, Sam Moore, the late Willy DeVille and Sam The Sham delivered an enjoyable and fun set featuring songs from his independently released solo releases, the upcoming LP Empirical Truth and Walls Of Jericho (2010), Must be a Pony (2006) and some well-chosen covers.
After a short intermission, Ure appeared on stage, smiled and announced, “It's good to be back.” The audience in the small but beautiful supper club, reacted as if Ure had told each member that they had won a million dollars. The applause was deafening and Ure got right down to business. He opened with a powerful one-two-three punch of “Call of the Wild,” “Dear God” and “If I Was.”
Ure’s performance was filled with good cheer, self-deprecating humor, first rate guitar playing and stellar vocals. Throughout the evening, Ure interacted with the crowd, asking, "What else can I play?” The audience peppered him with requests for “Cold, Cold Heart,” “All Stood Still” and many others. If the requested song was to his liking her performed it. If it wasn’t or was a difficult song to perform solo, without a band, he simply, with a twinkle in his eye said, “No.” Pausing to honor David Bowie, Ure stated, “I cover two David Bowie songs—“The Man Who Sold the World” and “Lady Stardust.” To my knowledge he never played one of mine. Which shall play?” He then played both songs in that order.
The concert featured classic tunes that visited the many twists, turns and aspects of Ure’s storied career. His time with Ultravox was acknowledged with “Reap the Wild Wind,” “Lament,” “Love's Great Adventure,” “Vienna” and “Dancing With Tears in My Eyes” and quite a few more. Fantastic versions of "If I Was," "Become" and "Beneath a Spielberg Sky" were also presented. These songs meshed so well within the set that anyone other than a diehard fan would have been hard-pressed to identify them as non-Ultravox tunes. He also delivered a stellar tour-de-force interpretation of Visage’s “Fade To Grey” which he wrote but was originally sung by the late Steve Strange. Other solo offerings included: “Light in Your Eyes,” “Guns and Arrows” and “Fragile.”
The main set ended with a trifecta of fantastic Ultravox songs: “The Voice,” the appropriate due to the current political climate “Hymn” which describes a time of corruption, in which “all that's good will fall from grace” and “All Fall Down” with its “I woke up to find that the world had gone mad” lyric.
At the end of “All Fall Down” Ure took his bows. The audience responded with a standing ovation. Ure waved and exited the stage. After a few minutes Epstein commandeered the mic and along with the crowd implored Ure to play one more song. Of course, he returned and played a stellar version of “No Regrets” which was written by Tom Rush and can be found on Ure’s 2002 EMD Int'l release, No Regrets: Very Best of Midge Ure. At the end, Ure took his bows and thanksed the crowd. He retreated to his dressing room to towel off and returned, after a short respite, to greet old friends, make new friends, sign memorabilia and to pose for pictures.
Ure sang with the gusto of a performer who had an entire band behind him, though he did not. His performance was electrifying. The audience members were thrilled by the amazing show. Many relieved their youth. Others reveled in the joyous sounds and musical journey on which Ure had just taken them.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon