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Spandau Ballet triumphs at Beacon Theatre

Spandau Ballet takes the stage at the Beacon

Spandau Ballet takes the stage at the Beacon Theater, Manhattan, May 2, 2015. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Fewbands in the history of pop music have been as misunderstood as Spandau Ballet has been in America.

The English quintet, known mainly for its synth-soul ballad "True" and the gloriously off-kilter anthem "Gold," has long been seen as an '80s oddity, cultural shorthand for an intensely cherished trend that falls out of favor.

However, with Spandau Ballet's Beacon Theatre concert Saturday night, part of the band's first American tour in 30 years, that could all change. (The band also played NYCB Theatre at Westbury Sunday night.)

Between the band's new documentary "Soul Boys of the Western World" and this two-hour mix of nostalgia and reinvention, Spandau Ballet seems ready to claim its influential past and to make hits again.

"It's so nice getting played on American radio after all this time," singer Tony Hadley said after the stylish adult pop single "Steal."

The focus on its early, avant-garde electronic roots works well, especially when saxophonist Steve Norman picks up the guitar to help guitarist Gary Kemp beef up "Confused" and "The Freeze" so that bassist Martin Kemp and drummer John Keeble can go all out on the pounding rhythm. And Hadley's ever-booming voice, seemingly even stronger now than it was in his younger days, soared above it all.

Of course, there was some nostalgia. The songs from their classic "True" album were massive sing-alongs and the band was all smiles and hugs after a powerful version of "Gold" as the crowd roared for more.

"We didn't know what to expect," Hadley said. "But we didn't expect this. Thank you."

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