An Audience with Martin Kemp, Robin2, Bilston - review and pictures
“Did you get to see Spandau when we were on tour a few years ago?” Martin Kemp asked his fans in Bilston.
“Well, it’s a good job you did," he laughed, making a light-hearted reference to lead singer Tony Hadley's shock announcement just a day earlier that he had quit the band for good.
But the good news for die-hard fans of the 80s chart toppers is that Spandau will continue without their original frontman - as Martin made clear to his Robin2 audience last night.
The pop star-turned-actor was back in the Black Country with his ‘An Audience With’ show. After a sell-out show last summer he returned to Bilston for another up, close and personal appearance.
The suave silver fox entertained the crowd with tales from his life and career in the first half of the show before taking questions from the audience during the second part.
The 55-year-old spoke of his childhood, growing up in north London, where 'we didn't have much money but we had so much love' through to his time with Spandau - including the band's highs and lows and their amusing rivalry with fellow 80s pop pin-ups Duran Duran. "It was quite pathethic,' he laughed, as he told the audience how each band hired Lear jets in a bid to make it to the Band Aid recording studio first.
"Our egos were the biggest thing in the world back then," he told the female-heavy audience.
The band split for the first time in 1990.
“The end of the 80s brought about the end of many 80s pop bands who had probably reached their sell-by date," he said.
Soon after they were locked in a bitter legal battle over publishing royalties. Tony and fellow members Steve Norman and John Keeble launched an unsuccessful court case against Martin's brother Gary Kemp. Martin played no part in it, with both sides telling him not to get involved.
"I regret not backing my brother and if I could turn back the clock to any point in my life it would be that," he said.
Then in 2009, after not seeing each other for around 15 years, the band reformed and toured around the world, before embarking on another reunion tour in 2015.
The bass player also spoke of his acting career, including his time in EastEnders as well as his role as gangster Reggie Kray in the British classic The Krays, which involved him visiting Ronnie Kray in Broadmoor for research.
Next year he celebrates 30 years of marriage to former Wham backing singer Shirlie Holliman.
“When I saw her on Top of the Pops in 1982 I fell in love with her," he said as he revealed she brought George Michael along on their first date.
“George was her wingman,” he said, before adding that he missed the singer, who died on Christmas Day, ‘like crazy’.
Martin's appearance was hot on the heels of Tony Hadley’s statement that he was leaving the band and would not be performing with them again.
And so the question of their future was bound to come up.
He was asked if the band could continue without Tony Hadley.
“Tony wanted to be Tony Hadley and not Spandau Ballet, that’s his call and I respect that. He wants to do it solo and good luck to him.
“But who knows what’s round the corner, maybe this is a fresh start for us, it gives us a bit more freedom.
And could anyone replace their lead singer?
“Well we’ve got a few ideas, but I can’t say anything more,” he said.
But he did say the band planned to work on new music at the end of the year.
So Tony Hadley may have left, but it seems there's no stopping the rest of Spandau Ballet.