GIG REVIEW: Soft Cell: One Final Time at The O2

By Carron Stacey

WHERE?: The O2

WHEN?: 30/9

When writing a gig review, I like to explain what sort of fan I am. I was 10 when Tainted Love came out. Of course I loved it. I loved all their 80s hits, loved the naughtiness of their debut Non Stop Erotic Cabaret album of the same year and liked a few of Marc’s solo ballads.

  • Read on for reasons including why Dave Ball’s synth’s Tainted Love “doink doink” was the memorable sound of the night

Having seen Marc perform on his Shadows and Reflections tour earlier this year, I knew what a professional he was. At this One Final Time gig, it was obvious he was in his different persona – more relaxed, both in dress and body.

Dave Ball looked like my kindly uncle who is a vicar. I haven’t got an uncle who is a vicar but if I did, it would be him. I loved the way he had to put his specs on to look at different parts of his keyboard set-up.

The chemistry between the two of them was a great – you can tell they enjoy performing together still. They kicked off with a high tempo Memorabilia, waking the crowd up. Torch was the first wow song for me – “looking for love in a sad song” – but sadly with no trumpet outro.

Marc showed his human side when he forgot the lyrics to Where the Heart Is. Last Chance gifted us a duet with the fabulous Mari Wilson.

Frustration, the first song on their debut album, reminded me so much of Warm Leatherette by The Normal (TVOD was played by The Readers Wifes DJ set support), released some five years earlier – a similarity I’ve only just realised.

Changing the lyrics to include iPads, Jason Statham as Bond as well as his semi (wait for it) detached house shows both his humour and ability to remain on point. He put The O2 to shame for not providing a set list, and showed the shambolic nature of Soft Cell by restarting The Best Way to Kill twice!

What! was a welcome blast from the 80s and revealed 60s pop roots. Accompanying their audio were amazing videos on the backdrop, ranging from mini slasher films to Marc playing guitar in a black bob wig.

Marc introduced each song with quips and stories from the 40 years since they started. Bedsitter – my next wow song was awesome. When he mentioned the song that changed everything, we knew it was Tainted Love, of course the extended version, with the crowd leading Where Did Our Love Go.

Next up was Sex Dwarf, so un-PC (unashamedly) and most welcomed by the crowd. The one night, one final time ended with Say Hello Wave Goodbye, with some of the audience having brought blow-up pink flamingoes. The camera lights in the audience, the glitter confetti, our singing… you could see the emotion in everyone around you as well as in Dave and Marc. Epic.

And as much as we might think of Marc’s voice “being” Soft Cell, it was Dave’s synth’s “doink doink” of Tainted Love that was the memorable sound of the night. Much love for those two guys from the audience. Much, much love.

monstagigz postscript: we watched it in the Greenwich Picturehouse and there was clapping, cheering and dancing!

  • Pictures by Allyson Hunt and Carron Stacey. Tickets
  • Read more from Carron at her blog A Humdrum Mum.
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