New wave stars ABC are heading home to Sheffield – backed by a chamber orchestra.
The 1980s’ group have announced a return to the live stage with the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra and conductor Anne Dudley for five special shows performing the classic debut album ‘The Lexicon of Love’ – including a show at Sheffield City Hall.
Frontman Martin Fry – the sole surviving member of the band – says: “We have got the truck out and put the orchestra on it; we’re gonna need a bigger bus.
“The orchestra is something which worked really beautifully five years ago when we played the Royal Albert Hall.
“There’s something about the songs which work well with an orchestra – you could do it with Elbow, but not Status Quo.
“The audience just enjoyed the songs and The Lexicon of Love worked well.
“From that, we have developed the show – it’s back by popular demand. It’s nice to come back to it.”
Martin, aged 56, is set to perform some of the bands greatest hits, before perfoming ABC debut album The Lexicon of Love in full – 33 years after it was first released – featuring tracks such as Poison Arrow and The Look of Love.
A tour spokesman said: “The Lexicon Of Love was first released in 1982 and went straight to number one.
“Fusing dance floor finesse with a post-punk attitude, the album spawned timeless tracks such Tears Are Not Enough and All Of My Heart.
“The album saw ABC enchant the world with their own unique brand of pop and remains one of the best albums of all time.
“Martin’s combination of sly northern wit and subversive intelligence, pop flamboyance and rock swagger, gold lame and lyrics that deal with treachery make this album still as contemporary as it was in the beginning.
“With Worldwide hits and seven studio albums later; ABC continue to tour extensively throughout the world.
“These new shows follow the resounding success and critical praise of ABC’s first performance of the album with an orchestra at The Royal Albert Hall in 2009 and a recent tour which included a sold out show at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in March 2014.”
Martin says: “The show is in two parts.
“We’ll play a few from the song book, like (How to be a) Millionaire and When Smokey Sings, which were probably bigger in America, and then some new songs, before The Lexicon of Love.”
As well as City Hall, the show will visit other prestigious venues including the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall – venues Martin says are perfect for the orchestra and the ‘enormous sound’ the shows will create.
“It’s what the City Hall is built for,” he says.
“To play Sheffield City Hall is going to be a privilege.
“The songs were written a short bus ride away. It’s like bringing them home – it feels like bringing the album home
“It’s been a long road from those early days, back in the early 1980s.
“I’ve played City Hall a few times, but starting out I never imagined being able to play it – it’s always special.”
* The show is at Sheffield City Hall on Friday, November 6. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, at 9am, from Gigs and Tours.
* For more, see ABC Martin Fry official website.