Gig review: T’Pau at Holmfirth Picturedrome

Carol Decker of T'Pau
Carol Decker of T'Pau
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The low-end bass, generated by T’Pau’s synthesisers, made the Holmfirth Picturedrome shake as Carol Decker and her tribe took to the stage – so much so, that it would have been less surprising if the band had launched into 2001 A Space Odyssey, rather than a track from their quadruple-platinum début album.

Decker, now 58, is still every bit the charismatic frontwoman she was back in 1987; her belting ballads like Valentine and Heart and Soul, are still performed in the same key as they were back in the day, as were stomping rockers like Running Away and Monkey House. Decker’s energy has not waned in the last 28 years.

T’Pau’s gig at the Picturedrome had to be postponed twice in the space of a year. Rather bluntly, Decker explained the reasons behind their previous cancellations: “The first time, my mum died... she’s such a selfish b****. Then the second time, I broke my foot and got bronchitis. Bad things always come in threes.”

Nonetheless, the punter’s enthusiasm had not wavered, despite the setbacks, and the full-to-capacity venue seemed more eager than ever to try and match Decker’s vocal range, as they sang along to every word. The conspicuous presence of an extra female backing singer was hardly necessary, as she struggled to keep up; both with Decker’s energy and vocal range, several times hindering the performance more than helping it.

Thanks to Decker’s lively banter with the hecklers – which ranged from calls of ‘will you marry me’, to ‘can I come in your garden’, after she had just performed the group’s hit Secret Garden – she instantly endeared herself to the up for it crowd.

A modest three tracks from T’Pau’s new album were played in sequence midway through the set, representing the ‘Pleasure & Pain section’ of the show. Aside from the occasional, more unknown track, Holmfirth was very much a ‘greatest hits’ gig: Sex Talk, Bridge of Spies, I Will Be With You, were all included in the 15 song set.

After 14 blistering songs, Decker explained the complex layout of the Picturedrome’s backstage area, concluding that it was not worth them leaving the stage, just to come back on for the encore. Therefore, the inevitable final song of the night, the group’s smash hit China In Your Hand, rounded off an evening of intimate and informal rock and roll in one of Yorkshire’s most renowned small venues.