Midge Ure returns to DC with his open and honest Songs, Questions and Answers Tour 2020, which lands at City Winery on Wednesday, Feb. 5. The show is sold out, but here are some things to know before you go!
After a successful UK leg of the tour, Midge originally planned to play alongside multi-instrumental musician Tony Solis. But Tony dropped out of the tour, leaving Midge to travel North America solo once again.
On Feb. 5, Midge performs acoustic versions of his catalogue and takes questions, and maybe the odd song request, from the audience.
And there is plenty to talk about too while covering a 40 year professional career — Ultravox, solo work, Band Aid, Live Aid, his Orchestrated album from 2017, and his most recent collection, Soundtrack: 1978-2019, an anthology that includes solo singles, select Ultravox recordings, and previously unreleased material.
Midge Ure last visited the DC metro area in 2018 for a show at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club. He performed in that venue in 2016 and 2015 as well after a long absence from the DMV.
Before his previous three shows, Parklife DC interviewed Midge, and you can find those interviews below. Here are some excerpts to inspire you to think of things to ask him about when you see him in concert.
Mickey McCarter: And speaking of the future, I saw that the Live Aid archival material is going to be presented and that it’s going to go, potentially, on tour. Are you involved with that? I read the news that the archives were moved to the National Library of Ireland.
Midge Ure: That’s right. Everything Band Aid has done, we’ve done for free. And it’s quite a responsibility for whoever’s storing that archival material because we don’t pay for anything. So, we came to the conclusion that the best thing we could possibly do with this is to have a museum look after it, and curate it, whether or not it finally does go out on tour, because that seems to be the new thing.
There seems to be exhibitions popping up in music — a David Bowie exhibition and the Pink Floyd one. Whether Live Aid itself would be enough of a draw for museums to host on a monthly basis, I don’t know, but it’s definitely something we have spoken about. It’s really for the archivist to decide what they want to do with it. As I said, we are doing them a favor, and they are doing us a huge favor by looking after this stuff. We know it’s in safe hands, and we know it won’t get ruined, and we know it won’t get damaged in floods. So, it’s there for history’s sake.
Stream Soundtrack: 1978-2019 by Midge Ure on Spotify:
MM: You said you performed with David Bowie once? Can you tell us that story briefly?
MU: Yeah, it was a bit of a surprise! I was musical director for The Prince’s Trust concert. Prince Charles has a charity. And back in the days when it was Charles and Diana, they started doing these rock galas. And there I was in charge of the band on the 10th anniversary one [in 1986], and the band was phenomenal. The band was Phil Collins on drums and Elton John on keyboards and Mark King from Level 42 on bass and Mark Knopfler on guitar and Eric Clapton on guitar. It was a who’s who!
And then we got the message that David Bowie and Mick Jagger were in the building, and could Howard Jones and I pop ‘round to their dressing rooms? Howard was on keyboards. We went ‘round to the dressing rooms. They had just released “Dancing in the Street” for famine relief. So it was right about the time of Band Aid, and they said look, we’ve never played it live, but we’d love to jam it through with you. So Howard and I are standing in the dressing room trying to figure out the chords for “Dancing in the Street.”
And then these two iconic rock stars come on and try to out-camp each other on stage — wiggling their bums and pushing each other out of the way to get to the microphone. I’m standing behind them, watching all of this going on and trying to play. It was just wonderful! It was an absolute “pinch me” moment. This was the stuff I dreamed of doing when I was a kid growing up on the outskirts of Glasgow. And here I am on stage with David Bowie and Mick Jagger — and that band. Wow!
Watch Midge Ure perform “Fade to Grey” live for Virgin Radio Live Sessions on YouTube:
MM: It seems to me more bands are eager to tour in general these days because that’s where you put your personal stamp on the music and touring is more of where the money is these days rather than depending on making money off an album release. What do you think?
MU: There is a lot of reminiscing going on with a lot of bands, and I have a theory as to why.
When you are struggling as an up and coming artist to achieve success and get your record deal, up until the moment you become successful, you play every club you can play to learn your craft, to get better at what you’re doing, and to achieve that goal.
So once you achieve that goal, what do you do? You stop touring. You put out an album every two years, and you only tour when the album is out because that’s what you do. You put the album out, and then you back it up with a tour. In those days, it didn’t matter what that tour cost to do, because you were generating the income from the album. So one was sustaining the other.
I realized after the demise of Ultravox when we only toured once every two years, I was missing this. I vowed to go back out and to play live as often as I could. That’s what I’ve been doing nonstop for the last 25 years because that’s why I started doing this.
The show is sold out.
Wednesday, Feb. 5
Doors @ 6pm