Rock & Pop in Pictures: Soft Cell: One Night, One Final Time, The O2, London, 30 September 2018

Soft Cell at The O2 London

On 30 September 2018, 80’s synth pop duo Soft Cell played their last ever concert. It sold-out at the O2 in London – one of the UK’s largest concert venues, holding 20,000 people. And it was beamed live to cinemas around the UK, and in other countries.

I’ve been part of the cult of Soft Cell fandom since they rose to prominence in 1981 when I was very young. What I have become has a strong streak of Soft Cell running through it. They are in my DNA. So to say I was keenly awaiting this gig is an understatement!

Having formed in 1978, Soft Cell first split up in 1984. They then got back together briefly in 2001. And this year, for ‘One Night, One Final Time’, they’ve reformed to play what they insist was their final ever show, to celebrate their 40th anniversary. They’ve even celebrated their reunion by releasing a limited edition Soft Cell beer!

And in coming back together in 2018, Soft Cell have also recorded some fantastic new material. Check out their new single – Northern Lights. Or for a real treat,  listen to the ‘B’ side Guilty – which is even better, and very special indeed! A dark maelstrom of minor chords, melodrama, and aggressive vocals  – it is Soft Cell back to their absolute best, and made me fall in love with them all over again – as if it were the first time.

If you’ve been drawn to read this blog, then Soft Cell may need no introduction. But if you’ve stumbled across this and have never heard of them(!), then they are the band responsible for the classic Number One single Tainted Love, which remains one of the biggest-selling singles of all time in the UK and US. They also wrote and performed the beautiful and iconic song Say Hello, Wave Goodbye. And there’s a lot of deeper, darker music on their albums – which is the stuff that I like best!

If you want to read a review of the concert – then I recommend this one in the UK newspaper The Guardian, which, in my view, summed up Soft Cell’s fabulous last show perfectly! Suffice to say here that their last ever concert was an enormously important, nostalgic, and emotional night in my life. And meanwhile, here’s my photographs from this seminal, one-off, extravaganza!

NB: I love singer Marc Almond, and music man Dave Ball, equally! There are more shots of Marc Almond here. But that’s only because of the accident of where I was standing at The O2 – which meant that the best shots I could take were of Marc.

Jump to:

– Marc Almond
– Dave Ball
– Soft Cell
– Special Guests
– Lights & Pyrotechnics!
– Say Hello, Wave Goodbye!!

Marc Almond

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Dave Ball

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Soft Cell

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Special Guests

Mari Wilson – who sang with Marc Almond on the 1980’s single What! – was reunited with Soft Cell. But this time she duetted with Marc on noughties track Last Chance.

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Soft Cell O2 London
Saxophonist Gary Barnacle – who played on Soft Cell’s albums back in the day – was reunited with the band for their final gig
And warm-up act the The Readers Wifes entertained us with some great club tracks before Soft Cell came on stage

Lights & Pyrotechnics!

Being in the front row, it was a little alarming when pumps of fire lit up the stage unexpectedly during the track Heat. I was wearing a lot of hairspray!

And flaming crucifixes adorned the screen during the deliciously dark horror-film-style gothic track Martin.
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Thousands of audience phone lights twinkle across The O2 during Say Hello, Wave Goodbye – talking of which………..

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye!!

Pink flamingos akimbo for Say Hello, Wave Goodbye!!
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Standing at the door of the Pink Flamingo, crying in the raining glitter……….

Soft Cell O2
For me, Soft Cell is all about melodrama! So it’s not at all over-the-top(!) for me to say that what is in this photo was one of the most beautiful, moving and poignant moments of my life! As Soft Cell played Say Hello, Wave Goodbye – on one final night for one final time – thousands of phone lights lit up the darkened stadium – a ton of glitter rained from the sky – and I could no longer control my tears………

Soft Cell beer

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