There is nothing sadder than going to see your favorite eighties band only to find that the lead singer can no longer sing. The golden voice ravaged by time, reduced to a scratchy growl. Thankfully, such is not the case with Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley. The masterful vocalist’s croon is as pristine now, as it was back in the day.
In August of 2011, Twenty five years after he last toured here, Hadley returned to America.  Backed by a four-piece band (including Spandau drummer John Keeble) the masterful vocalist glided effortlessly through a barrage of Spandau hits and covers of songs by everyone from The Foo Fighters to Duran Duran to Frank Sinatra. We sat down with Tony before the show to chat.

Rocker: When was the last time you toured America?
Tony: So long ago. It was 1985 and maybe 86…
Rocker: Why did you decide to come back now?
Tony: I’ve wanted to come over to America and do gigs for ages now. Recently a promoter saw us (Tony Hadley Band) playing at a festival in Europe and said, “We’ve got to get you to America.” There are two things here. One which is Spandau Ballet and the other which is Tony Hadley the singer from Spandau Ballet. I think there has been a problem over the years with having a song like “True,” which is one of the most played records on American radio, that song is bigger than the band and bigger than me. People know the song from “The Wedding Singer” and rappers sampling it. But they have forgotten about the band.
It’s been such a long time, that any fan base that Spandau Ballet did have here has grown up and had kids. So we are here to test the waters and do a few shows. Entertain the people. The main reason is to get some good reviews. Have people say, “Wow those guys can really play and Tony can still really sing. The songs are great and it’s a good show.” Thankfully the reviews from our last two shows, in New York and Chicago have been fantastic. I couldn’t have written them any better if I wrote them myself. I’ve got a new solo album coming out next year so hopefully the good press that will allow us to come back again soon.
America is such and exciting place. I think Spandau didn’t play it very wisely. Because America is a place you got to come tour and tour and tour. With Spandau we only did two small tours that didn’t make a dent. I look at Duran Duran who came over here and said, “We’re gonna play everywhere and work our nuts off.” It paid off for them. They built a loyal following here that stuck with them.
Rocker: Who is in the audience at these recent shows?
Tony: Bit of a mixture. New York was a real mixed bag. People from different age groups with some real rockers in the crowd. Predominately the audience is thirty five plus. Reaction has been brilliant. Lot of people who knew Spandau Ballet. They knew “True”, “Gold” and “Only When You Leave.” But they had no idea what else I would play. We do the classic songs. I’d be a fool not to. But it’s nice to see people get into the other stuff.
Rocker: What makes up the set list?
Tony: Pretty much anything from the “True” album is needed. “Gold”, “True”, “Only When You Leave.” Then I added “Through The Barricades” because that is my favorite Spandau song. Although it wasn’t a hit here it is considered a classic song. Someone asked if we were going to do any of the really old stuff like “To Cut A Long Story Short.” I hadn’t thought about that. But we rehearsed “Cut A Long Story” and it’s in. There are a few bits and bobs of Spandau in the set plus a new song from the new album called “My Imagination.” The rest of the set are just songs I like to sing. We do The Killer’s “Somebody Told Me,” Duran Duran’s “Rio” and some stuff from Queen.
Rocker: You reunited with Spandau Ballet in 2009. What was it like to get the band back together?
Tony: It wasn’t easy. (Laughs) As with most bands, when they split, things fracture and fly off at different angles. We had a pretty bad breakup. Ended up in court and everything else. So getting the band back together was no easy task. I had said in interviews at different times the reunion would happen when Hell froze over. In a way the reunion happened purely by accident. I was doing a radio interview in England with a friend of mine, Shane Ritchie. He’s a massive Spandau Ballet fan. He kept going on and on about when was I going to get the band back together. Finally, just to shut him up I said, “Okay Shane, for the 30th Anniversary I’ll get the band back together again.” I’m laughing because I said it as a joke. Next thing I know it’s a news item around the world that we’re getting back together.
My management’s office is flooded with calls from fans and agents. My manager said, “Look maybe this is something you should think about.” I knew the others wanted to do it. After six months of thinking about it John Keeble, the drummer for Spandau and my solo band, slowly got the cogs back together. I call him the Henry Kissinger of pop. If any band breaks up and wants to get back together again, get John Keeble. He’s really good at negotiations. He talks in a low voice. (Laughs) The final meeting was with myself and Gary (Kemp) over a point of beer in a pub. We said, “Do you think we could make this work?” We decided to forget what happened. Or it least not to talk about it. Lets try to build a friendship again. We shook hands. Had another couple of pints and that was beginning of rebuilding the blocks.