Out and About
“Soft Cell: One Final Time” – the iconic band’s last performance screens Nov 9 to 12, 2018
The final and sold-out concert from Synth-pop pioneers Soft Cell was broadcast live from London to cinemas across Europe from the O2 Arena in London on Sunday September 30th, 2018. This landmark event celebrated the band’s 40th anniversary and was their ONLY and last EVER show. Now, fans around the world can simulate that in person experience on the big screen in surround sound at select theatres. Featuring all the hits and a spectacular stage show, Soft Cell’s ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ concert is an incredible finale on the big screen as it was to be there in person!
This just well be the new marketing model for musicians on the verge of their swan song in their careers. Decide to do one final live performance in a massive venue to thousands of dedicated fans, capturing the full concert on video, and then releasing the footage as a feature length theatrical production, and a DVD home version. So for those who can’t make the trek to the concert, or afford the ticket prices, or just prefer to kick back in the comfy seat of a theatre and watch the performance close up in surround sound stereo – this is the next best thing!
This recording looks completely unedited with several mishaps and mistakes happening throughout the performance, like when Marc Almond forgets the lyrics, and then says “hey there are a lot of songs and words to remember”, or when Dave Ball hits his synthesizer buttons a bit too early to launch into the next song when Marc isn’t ready. Marc actually looked over at Dave the second time it happened, shook his head, and muttered, “for fuck sake”. Yes 40 years after forming as “an electronic duo”, these two gentleman are back on stage with a full team of musicians and back up singers, delivering all the tunes that fans crave.
Starting off with the classic Memorabilia, it looked like Marc was struggling to get things going, but by the end of the performance, over two and half hours later, Marc is in top notch form rhyming off lyrics and taking control of the stage, front and centre. After a short interlude break 90-minutes in, even Dave looked revitalized and actually stood up to fidget with his old school wall of synthesizers. As is the case today with concerts, the backing visuals add as much as the live performance, so beginning with a collage of original videos of the hits, seemed fitting to begin a night of nostalgia.
Throughout the performance, Marc gave tidbits of info about the band, such as really only forming the band to one day maybe open for Human League, or the time they turned down opening for David Bowie as they thought they weren’t ready for that yet. He also warned the audience early that for anyone that might be offended, the should perhaps turn their heads now. They did play some newer tunes, like Darker Days, a reflection on where we are at today, and half way through the concert Marc commented that it would be nice to have had a set list to look at instead of having to ask Dave what’s next each time. “It’s the fucking O2”, he laughed. He also thanked the crowd, and those watching from the cinemas, another great marketing opportunity that was obviously well planned and thought out.
The one glaring oversight for the show was when Marc introduced their classic song Tainted Love, dissing Marilyn Manson’s cover and stating “there is only one version and that is ours.” Although playing the full extended 12″ release version going into Where Did Our Love Go, a cover of The Supremes, it would have been appropriate to also mention (and thank) Gloria Jones, the singer of the original version of Tainted Love.
All was forgiven though when this was followed by the classic BDSM anthem, Sex Dwarf, which looked to be the last song, especially when Dave left the stage and Marc was wondering where he went. Perhaps he had to use the washroom”, he joked. Finally, Dave returned, and the gentlemen finally did their last live swan song, Say Hello, Wave Goodbye. An appropriate ending to a great show, whether you were there live or virtually!
This is a unique way to experience an event that is sure to go down in pop music history, as one of Britain’s seminal bands, Soft Cell, ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ with an incredible finale on the big screen. A Live Here Now production in partnership with Toward Infinity and directed by Tim Sidwell (Bring Me The Horizon, Marillion, Steps, Bananarama), the concert was filmed in full HD with a comprehensive 13 camera set-up, and 5.1 surround sound. One of the most influential groups to emerge from the electronic music scene in the UK in the 1980s, Soft Cell produced five albums of original material, book-ended by their debut; 1981’s ‘Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret’, and 2002’s ‘Cruelty Without Beauty’.
The incredible string of hits Soft Cell produced during this time, including ten tracks that reached the UK Top 40 singles charts, need little introduction. The unique combination of Ball’s musicianship and Almond’s tender yet assured delivery on songs such as ‘Memorabilia’, ‘Torch’, and of course their trademark ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ inhabits a unique place in British music history. ‘Tainted Love’, Soft Cell’s boundless Number One hit, is perhaps the most emblematic and evocative song of the era. A cover of Gloria Jones’ Northern Soul staple that kept the original’s yearning tone, Soft Cell enveloped the track with a slowed down instantly recognizable synth riff – a nod to pop music’s past, yet wholly updated with the fresh, modern sound of the 80s that still holds up to this day.
Intervening years have seen both Marc Almond and Dave Ball’s talent recognized with successful solo careers in their own right, with Almond awarded an Ivor Novello Inspiration Award in 2013, as well as an OBE this year’s New Year’s Honours List. Ball went on to form The Grid, peaking with million-selling international hit ‘Swamp Thing’, as well as working as a producer and writer for the likes of Kylie Minogue and remixer for David Bowie, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Yello & The B-52’s
Screenings November 9, 10, and 12, 2018 at select theatres in the following cities – Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Windsor, Guelph, Peterborough, Oakville, Mississauga, Vancouver, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal, Langley, Sudbury, Niagara, Barrie, Mount Pearl.
This is part of the Big Sound on the Big Screen at Cineplex Theatres series, where Cineplex Events brings audiences unique and exclusive concert experiences, special performances and a look behind the curtain at some of the biggest artists from around the world. The upcoming line-up includes:
- The return of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a cinema spectacular from the world’s most widely recognized tattoo
- Cliff Richard Live: 60th Anniversary Tour, a celebration of Sir Cliff Richard’s diamond year as one of Britain’s original pop stars
- Soft Cell: One Final Time, a finale performance that pulls out all the stops from the group that brought the world the timeless hit, Tainted Love
- Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams, a cinematic, one-night-only event that was shot over 20 years and shares the band’s story for the first time in their own words; and
- Burn the Stage: The Movie, the first film that goes behind-the-scenes of the meteoric rise of BTS, the most successful global boyband of all time
For local showtimes, participating theatres and ticketing information, visit Cineplex.com/Events.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.