Soft Cell – O2 Academy Glasgow 10th Nov 2021
The buzz around the city over the past few weeks has been cop26 on the other side of the river Clyde, tonight however, the city is gearing up for a night of music. A perfect relief for 2500 fans of 80’s icon band Soft Cell to perform the 40th anniversary of their Non Stop Erotic Cabaret album from synth pop duo Marc Almond and Dave Ball.
Glasgow’s O2 Academy is the chosen venue for this evening’s musical extravaganza, which has been filling up early with the Glasgow audience, eager to take their places to get the best view of their idols. A large number of the crowd would have been in their teens when the album first came out in the 80’s, tonight may have been the first chance to hear the songs live. It’s been an absolute delight to see the band back on tour, as the last show at the O2 in London back in 2018 was to be their wave goodbye moment. Now they are back with the tour and new album coming out early next year titled “Happiness not included”.
As the lights dimmed the atmosphere was amazing from the audience as the bands backing singers took their position the silhouette of Dave Ball and Marc Almond could be seen on the stage, as the opening chords of classic track “Torch” the energy could be felt from the audience throughout the building, the classic sax on the track was played by the excellent Gary Barnacle. The first set of the show was made up with songs from the bands new album along with some classics that had the audience in full voice. Marc’s vocals were just amazing, still as sharp as they were in the 80’s, the excellent synth from David cemented it all together to form the recognisable sound of Soft Cell.
The highlight songs that stood out from the new album included the first single “Heart Like Chernobyl”, “Bruises on All My Illusions”, “Nostalgic Machine”, “Happy Happy Happy” and the excellent “Divided Soul”, all the songs were received well from the O2 Academy crowd and fitted like a glove around some of the old Classics. The first set came to an end with “The Art of Falling Apart”, then the excellent version of “Martin” before the band left the stage.
The stage was reset with a few changes in the layout during the break, we were ready to go back in time to the fabulous Non Stop Erotic Cabaret album in full to celebrate its 40th Anniversary. As the band returned to the stage the opening chords of “Frustration “surrounded the venue, the audience were on their feet in the balcony dancing and singing along waving their pink flamingos. The venue, in full party mode, the crowd knew what song was going to be next, coming a little early in show but going by the running order of the album it was time for “Tainted Love”, as expected the venue went wide, you could see the expression on Marc Almond’s face they were enjoying every minute of it and it was good to be back on stage performing the hits that spanned their careers.
Marc took time to sit down and perform and excellent version of “Youth” before a storming version that raised the roof of “Sex Dwarf” and an extended version of “Bedsitter”, this was a real bonus to hear live in the extended format. They finished the second set with the roof raising “Say Hello Wave Goodbye”. If you felt Tainted Love had been the highlight song that concept swiftly changed, as this track took over and raised the roof of the Glasgow venue, leaving its mark in every corner. The crowd, in full voice, enjoyed every minute of the last song from the album. This was a night cherished in more ways than one by every single fan in the venue, hearing the album in all its glory and to have Soft Cell back on the road again.
As the saying goes, all good things come to an end, and what an ending it was. First up was a nice new song from the forth coming album “Purple Zone” followed by a real treat in “Memorabilia” closing the show with the video feed of the band from back in the day streaming behind them as they performed. This was a night that marked the return of Soft Cell and took away the darkest days of 2018 at the O2 London that was meant to mark the final show. This wasn’t a Good Bye, this was Say Hello we are back.
Concert Review and Photographs by James Edmond