Despite having played sold-out arena tours across the globe, Midge Ure reckons true musicianship is being able to be both a rock star and an intimate performer.
“The small intimate gigs are about being able to see the whites of people’s eyes and them being able to see you warts and all.
“It’s about musicianship and can you still sing and have you written anything that I’m interested in hearing?”
Ure, the former Ultravox frontman, touches down in Queenstown today.
The Scottish legend finishes the New Zealand leg of his ‘Something From Everything’ tour tonight, at The Sherwood.
Last time Ure was here to play was about two years ago.
Before that he’d spent 30 years away from Middle Earth.
“I’d kind of forgotten just how stunning NZ is, not just as a beautiful country but as a place to be.
“It’s spiritual, it’s quiet, it’s exciting, and it’s vibrant.”
The 63-year-old’s still as busy as ever chopping and changing between different bands, tours and projects he’s working on.
Tonight he’s playing with a couple of young musicians, known as India Electric Company.
He refers to multi-instrumentalists Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe as “hideously talented”.
When Ure is out touring solo he gets young talent to open for his shows to help give them a start in the music industry.
That’s how he discovered the dynamic duo.
“Every time India Electric Company would open up for me I wouldn’t know who was on the show and I would turn up and every time they did it my ears pricked up because they were really, really, really good.”
So he decided that he’d ask them if they wanted to tour with him — with their own opening slot and then as back-up for Ure.
Once all three are on stage Ure calls himself “a bit lazy” as he plays guitar and sings while the two guys are “jumping between instruments”.
Their joint set is a little bit of everything — from all of Ure’s albums over the years.
Ure was responsible for co-writing the 1984 Band Aid hit Do They Know It’s Christmas?
The year after, Ure and co-writer Bob Geldof organised Live Aid, a duel-venue concert, to raise funds for the Ethiopian famine.
Mountain Scene asks if he reckons that kind of event would work in this day and age.
He says back in the ‘80s music was the be-all and end-all for young people — “before it all fell apart and the internet took over”.
“Could you do the same thing now? Yes of course you could.
“Would music be the vehicle we would use? I really and honestly would not know.”
Midge Ure and India Electric Company play The Sherwood tonight, 8pm, tickets available on Ticketek for $66.50