Eighties icons together in Sheffield concert

Garry Christian, of The Christians.
Garry Christian, of The Christians.

Package tours featuring three or more artists are increasingly popular these days, and an Eighties package is heading to Sheffield this weekend.

Together in Concert features Midge Ure with the band Electronica performing the cream of his long career with solo hits like If I Was and Ultravox classics like Vienna.

Midge was also heavily involved with Live Aid and co-wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas? with Sir Bob Geldof.

Altered Images, led by the irrepressible Clare Grogan, will also be there; their hits include the bouncy Happy Birthday and I Could Be Happy.

Completing the line-up is Liverpool band The Christians, who are also celebrating their 30th anniversary.

Among their hits is the evergreen Harvest For The World, which was a top-10 hit in the autumn of 1988; plus they contributed to the chart-topping charity single Ferry Cross The Mersey with Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney and Gerry Marsden.

The band originally contained three brothers – Garry, Roger and Russell – and was famous for their unique style of soul and Gospel inspired vocals.

Not only is the band back on tour, but also there is a new album.

Sings & Strings is a sparkling re-interpretation of nine of the bands’ greatest songs.

Garry says: “It’s our 30th anniversary and some wag stood up and suggested it.

“There’s my vocals, the Echo String Quartet from Liverpool, plus four great singers from the AMC Gospel Choir in Birmingham, Andy Steele on piano, and backing vocals from my band members Joey Ankrah and Neil Griffiths.

“And you know what? It’s pretty good.

“It’s a tricky thing to redo the songs just as strings, piano and vocals but I’m really happy with it.”

Garry is the only Christian brother still in the band, but, he says, he does not really miss singing with his brothers.

“My older brother, Roger, died back in 1998 and Russell never did anything anyway,” he says.

And Garry has high hopes for the album.

“I hope it sells millions of copies, seriously, I hope it’ll grow on people,” he says.

“It’s a new way to look at the old songs – which I’ll probably be dragging round with me till I die.”

He laughs again, as humour is never far away.

And this tour of three Eighties icons has been in the planning for a while.

Garry says: “We were offered the spot in the tour at the end of last year and at first I thought it wouldn’t work and then we thought ‘why not’.

“There are three different artists and therefore three totally different experiences.”

“I’ve never worked with the others before, but I’ve run into them at the 80s Rewind festivals.”

With three acts, time will be tight..

“Yeah, we’ve been allocated five minutes, Altered Images three minutes and Midge 120,” he jokes.

“No, we’ve got about 40 minutes, Midge 60 and Altered Images about 25 minutes.

“With such a short time, it’ll probably be just the hits.

“We can’t do new stuff on this tour as people will want the hits.

“We’ll see how the album pans out and maybe we can tour it next year.”

And he admits he is looking forward to the tour, which arrives at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday, October 29,

“I can’t wait, just to get away from the wife,” he laughs – and the laughter is matched by the band’s manager Emma, the wife in question.

Tickets for the show, priced from £30.80, are now available from the City Hall box office in person, from 0114 278 9789 and sheffieldcityhall.co.uk