T'Pau

Robin 2, Bilston on Thursday 6 July 2017

T'Pau burst onto the music scene in 1987, yes 1987, with the hit "Heart & Soul" reaching No. 4 in both the UK & US charts. Taken from the debut album "Bridge Of Spies," its innovative use of a rap verse by a white female vocalist introduced the world to the distinctive lead vocals of Carol Decker & the song writing talents of Carol & Ronnie Rogers.

"Heart & Soul" led to a meteoric rise in T'Pau's fortunes both at home in the UK & in the USA. After a UK arena tour supporting Bryan Adams, the band immediately toured as headliners to tie in with the next single, Iconic song "China In Your Hand", which stayed at No. 1 for 5 weeks. Simultaneously Bridge Of Spies occupied the Number 1 album slot for 2 weeks.

To date, "China In Your Hand" has appeared on more than 150 compilations, and has become one of the most played songs of the 1980's. After further hits such as "Valentine," "I Will Be With You," and "Sex Talk," the "Bridge Of Spies" album was certified quadruple platinum in the UK, selling 1.2 million copies. "Rage" the 2nd album also went platinum. The original line up of T'Pau split in 1991 after the final hit "Whenever You Need Me" (No. 16).

"The Promise" followed in 1991: it peaked at No. 10 in the UK, earning a silver disc. It included one Top 20 hit, "Whenever You Need Me", but the band's commercial peak had now passed and they split up following its release.

The final album, "Heart & Soul: The Very Best Of T'Pau," was released in 1993. Ron Rogers returned to production and studio work, whilst Carol embarked upon a co-writing career, occasionally performing solo and on other projects.

By 1997, Carol had taken the decision to build a new T'Pau around her, and get back on the road after assembling a massive amount of new material. A 25-date UK tour in the summer of '97, including some festivals, preceded the release of a brand new version of "Heart & Soul" on Carol’s own Gnatfish label. Encouraged by the response, Carol embarked upon recording "Red" the first new T'Pau album for 6 years, After 6 months in the studio, T'Pau performed an orchestrated version of "China" with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Princess Diana Tribute Concert at Althorp in June 1998. It was broadcast live around the world, and later in a BBC primetime show.

In 2013 Carol completed a 28 date T’Pau tour, celebrating 25 years in the business, culminating in a packed out Big Top tent at IOW Festival.

In February 2015, T'Pau released their fifth studio album, "Pleasure & Pain", and embarked on a tour. The final eight shows on the Pleasure & Pain Tour had to be cancelled in early March after Decker suffered damage to her voice while suffering from bronchitis.

With another tour booked, with 80’s legends Go West and Nik Kershaw running through November and December with 30 dates, then another T’Pau tour booked for 2016 with 22 dates throughout the UK, Carol Decker is a busy women.

"Bridge of Spies" remastered was released in 2016, as well as "The Virgin Anthology", which included four discs, included all the single releases, as well the three albums, remixes and demo versions. And the release of Carol’s autobiography in 2016, which covered serious subjects such as loss and depression, but also made me chuckle to myself on numerous occasions, well worth a read, go buy it? (Signed copies available).

The last time T’Pau played the Robin 2 was back in October 2015, I can remember the sticky floors! And what a hot sweaty mess I was.

I get the feeling I’ve stepped back in time, two years, especially as John Adams is providing support again, the same as he was back in 2015. An ex-xfactor contestant from 2012, a 30 minute set, with a voice like an angel, he was exceptional, I could’ve listened to him all night.

T’Pau came on stage at 9.20ish, I’d already turned in to a pumpkin at this stage (lol), not like me to be gigging on a school night, but with this event it was a no brainer, it had to be done.

The band took a different dynamic, no Ronnie, new rhythm guitarist and new bass player, made no difference really as the music was still epic and the band were amazing.

Carol looked very Glam, all dressed in Black, tight black glittery trousers, black glittery, sequined waistcoat and black top., she looked stunning.

A stonking 14 song set, with some absolute gems from "Bridge of Spies", "Rage", "Red", "Pleasure & Pain", unfortunately nothing from "The Promise", which was slightly gutting as in my eyes it’s one of the better T’Pau albums.

The set kicked off with rocky "Sex Talk", which just epitomizes T’Pau, Ballsey and full of angst, it’s hard not to sing or get involved with the show, especially when you’ve liked a band for 30 years.

The wonderful "Thank you for Goodbye" was up next , such an underrated song, I totally loved it. The band were amazing, James Ashby does every song justice, for such a youngster he is so talented and such a nice guy to, dare I compare him to Dean Howard? Is he better? I’m not going down that road, lovely, lovely guy and talented too.

Carol’s vocals tonight were so on point, a friend who I had taken with me was astounded at her vocal prowess, he murmured to me ’She’s got a fabulous pair of lungs’, tell me something I don’t know? One thing about Carol is she’s still got it and tonight showed that.

"Island" and "Monkey House" were pure gems in the set, I was totally in my element, you forget what impact music has on your life and remember where you were when these songs were originally around.

30 years ago is a helluva long time and for Carol to still be around is no mean feat in itself. Her vocal talent speaks for itself.

The lush "Valentine" and "I Will Be With You" were up next, I looked into the crowd and could see certain sections mouthing every word, quite a few die hard fans in, one guy had travelled all the way from Folkestone for the show, now that’s dedication for you.

Banter between songs was so funny, Carol kept telling the audience they were at a rock gig and to sing up and be louder, she kept thanking everyone for coming and staying with T’Pau from the start to now, which was a nice touch.

Another 6 tracks followed including the epic "Secret Garden", "Wing and a Prayer", "Read My Mind", "Misbelieving", the most amazing "Bridge of Spies" which was bloody brilliant and the set was topped off with the stonking "Heart ’n’ Soul".

Carol asked who’d got the new albums, and if not, why not? I actually do rate the new stuff, the songs are growers and I actually do have my personal favourites but tonight’s choices on the set list were all gems.

The encore was underrated "Say You Will", I really love this track and everybody else did too. Obviously the last track on the set list was "China".

Where were you 30 years ago? In November this year "China in your Hand" was number 1 for 5 weeks 30 years ago, it’s unbelievable, but still a timeless classic and still a topical song which Carol belts out with such passion and gumption.

This track is just the icing on the cake on the set, the singalong is enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, and it’s just timeless. And finish the set and the evening off with style.

The nice thing after the show is Carol greets the fans, this is such a nice touch these days, as some stars can be so egotistical. Luckily Carol’s not one of those. Photos, selfies and signatures, everyone left happy bunnies.

A seriously good night. I look forward to the China 30th anniversary tour in November, if you love the 80’s and you have a penchant for rock and fiery lead singers, do yourself a favour and book some tickets, you won’t be disappointed.

 

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article by: Michelle Owen-Williams

published: 07/07/2017 11:04


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