Gig preview: T’Pau, Leeds City Varieties

Carol Decker of T'Pau
Carol Decker of T'Pau
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Listening to the excitement in Carol Decker’s voice as she describes how she will play the Isle of Wight Festival this year, it is easy to understand how that same voice took T’Pau’s third single to number one in 1987, where it stayed for five weeks.

Still possessing the powerful pipes that took her to the top, Decker, 55, is taking T’Pau on its first headline tour in 15 years to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the band’s debut album – the quadruple-platinum Bridge of Spies.

“I thought I would mark our anniversary in some way and come out and sing a few tunes… hopefully some people will come and see me”, she laughs. “Of course I will play hits, but also classic album tracks. I’m thinking of having a little acoustic set in the middle.”

In the late 80s, T’Pau seemed to permanently reside on Top of the Pops. Bridge of Spies sold over 5m copies, and China in Your Hand was the biggest-selling single of 1987. However, Decker, once the flame-haired pinup for so many teenagers, has a very modest recollection of these memories.

She describes the scene of a male crew member wearing a red wig to distract the crowd outside the stage door at her shows as “…my 15 minutes, as Andy Warhol would say. I couldn’t get out of the stage door at the Hammersmith Odeon for the fans and Press. Our roadie just put on this red wig, leather jacket and shades and jumped into the back of the limo and everybody sped after him. He had better legs than me as I recall!”

After 1991, the original line-up of T’Pau disintegrated. As Carol describes it, “It’s ancient history now, but we were just arguing over creative differences. Also, the music-scene had changed. By the time we came out with ‘The Promise’, it was all club music and groove-orientated stuff. We lost our footing.”

Decker kept performing and recording as T’Pau. She has frequently collaborated with former boyfriend, guitarist and co-writer, Ron Rogers, who is still a part-time member of T’Pau’s touring line up. Carol recently confirmed on Twitter that Ron will play all the live dates on the tour with her.

April 30, Rotherham Civic Theatre; May 11, Victoria Theatre, Halifax; June 16, Leeds City Varieties.

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