Thursday, August 5

We are a lullaby, an everlasting song. Taken as prisoners to a place where we belong. If the tune stops, I will not wake. Oh no. Without us, I'm no one, my soul swells and aches.

A few weeks ago, a group of us were talking about various gigs we'd been to.
Who we'd seen, who we really, really wanted to see but hadn't got around to seeing....yet, who'd been the best, the worst, the first....and so the categories continued. I can't remember all of the 'descriptions' we covered, but here's the majority, plus some we never talked about.

It should be noted, I really struggle with lists like this. Music in particular affects me in many different ways. One of the things I love about music, is that it can play wonders with one's emotions. You can feel low, listen to something and find yourself feeling up-lifted, positive, charged. You can feel low, listen to something that really taps into your feelings and emotions, and you feel listened to, understood, forgiven even. You can feel on top of the world, listen to something and feel your insides burst and fizzle and pop, making you feel superhuman. It can give you answers, support, an impartial ear. It can raise questions, make you angry, feed your fever. With this in mind, my 'favourites', as it were, can frequently change. Not always, but they do. Which makes making lists, such as my top ten favourite albums of all time for example, terribly difficult. There always seems to be a few albums that have never fell off the list, but quite what number to place them at is nigh on impossible. I could say that it was just as difficult to come up with a definite "Best gig ever", because of course I've seen some absolutely amazing gigs, and picking just one gives me the shivers.
But all that said, here's my best shot; including some that are factual based, not emotionally chosen. Oh, and on some I cheated 'cos I just can't pick one. I know, what a cock!

I shall just add a little disclaimer at the bottom of the post.

  • First gig ever - Pussycat. My brother and I got dragged along to this one with my parents, when we were very young. I can barely remember it, except knowing that I was in a mahoosive room with what seemed like millions of other people, singing and dancing. I can't remember how old I was or even what country we were in, I just remember being bored. I don't know who Pussycat are, apart from I remember my mum playing the album over and over again, kinda country, kinda Mamas & Papas.
  • First gig of my choice - Ozzy Osbourne NEC Arena. Back in the day when he tore up national headlines with his bat-head-eating shenanigans. The stage was dressed as a medi-evil castle; Ozzy played the 'king' of the castle, his band all dressed up accordingly, wenches and maidens made appearances, a small person (am I allowed to say dwarf? I don't even know, and Google has proved pretty useless) being hung on stage, lots of explosions, huge banks of lights and the loudest rock music I'd ever heard! I absolutely loved it, and consequently fell in love with experiencing music at it's very best....when played live by the people who love it most. Thanks Ozzy x.
  •  Most I've paid for a ticket (proper sale value) - Prince, Manchester Apollo. I think I payed around £75 for each ticket. It was unheard of for Prince to play such a small venue. And to say getting hold of a pair of tickets was bloody close to impossible, somehow I managed to speak to 'the right people' and bagged myself a pair. It was everything I wanted it to be; intimate, gorgeous, powerful, I was in awe. For the last 20 minutes of the gig, he had people from the audience up on stage with him. He did a blazing set and I came away, after not having seen him live for about six or seven years, convinced that he'd still got it. I've not seen him live since then. I had tickets to see him when he did the record breaking run at The O2 arena in London, but had to sell them because I was so desperately broke.
  • Most I've paid for a ticket (from touts etc) - Coldplay, London. I've only ever bought dodgy tickets to two gigs anyway. By mid afternoon, I'd decided that travelling 120 miles to London, meeting up with a friend and trying to get tickets into the last gig Coldplay were to play before they exploded with "Yellow" was a good idea. In the end, it was. When we arrived at the venue, touts were selling them for £100 a piece. Big money! We went for a coffee and waited until two of the support bands had played. I ended up paying £50 a piece for the dodgy tickets. And very dodgy they were. It turned out that the tout was working in ca-hoots with the guy on door security, so we ended up with a ticket to see Morrissey the previous night, and a ticket for The Wonderstuff a few weeks ago, and sailed past the door. The gig was amazing.
  • Best support band - Ultrasound, Wolves. They supported Placebo. I'd never heard of them, but noticed afterward that they were a current favourite of NME. Quite possibly the strangest looking band I've ever seen. They didn't look like a band at all. There was clearly no common thread through any of the band members. By the time they were into their second song, I was converted. Musically, they were brilliant. Not the best players in the world, but wonderfully creative with their sound and instruments. They completely won the crowd over and I immediately rushed up to my local Our Price to buy their cd
  • Most disappointing gig - Evanescence, Wolves. Bloody loved their breakthough album, had a bit of a 'thing' for the lead singer. The place was packed, the atmosphere was electric, the anticipation was immense. The crowd were totally in the mood to be rocked out of our socks. What happened was three or four songs with piss poor sound mixing before they got any where near anything decent, coupled with absolutely no chemistry on stage between the band. In fact, I'd say it was more like animosity. Yep, they didn't look happy, comfortable or even show any signs of enjoyment playing their songs. It soon became a 'by the numbers' gig, with very little in between. I found out the following day that the band had a huge bust up with the lead guitarist/co-writer and he'd walked out on them a few days into the tour. Most of the comments I over-heard on the way out at the end of the gig were of disappointment and negativity. Shame.
  • Most intimate gigs - James Blunt, Brighton. A month or so before he was all over the radio like a nasty rash on a tramp, I found out he was playing a few warm up gigs before commencing a more 'suitable' tour of medium sized venues. There were probably less than a hundred of us in the room, but he performed as if we were a crowd of many thousands. It was obvious he was loving every minute of it, and because it wasn't your typical 'conventional' gig, he continued way past the time he should have finished by. The sound was perfect; crystal clear, the atmosphere was amazing and pretty much everybody there knew we were witnessing something very, very special. Oh, and about twenty minutes after he finally went off-stage, he came out the front and sat down to have a drink with a few people. He came across as a really nice guy. Shame he turned into a twat.                                                         Prince, Small club in London. During one of his Wembley Arena gigs, I stumbled upon the woman who used to run his UK fan club many years previously. To cut a long story short, she game me three tickets to a special after show party/gig that was happening in a small club in the West End of London. Admission was strictly by ticket only, plus another £25, but it was too good an opportunity to pass up. He came on stage about 3am and played until 6.30, delighting the audience of about 200 people with old songs, new songs, jams, new arrangements, special guests and stage dives. It was amazing. He smells amazing. And I got to touch the little tinker when he turned his back on us, then took a leap into our open arms.
  •  Most embarrassing gig attended - Status Quo, Milton Keynes. My brother used to be a huge fan, so I would offer to go when nobody else would. I've seen them more than once, but the less said about this, the better.
  • Gigs I've either blagged my way into or paid nothing for - Linkin Park, Manchester. Placebo, many venues. Oasis, Manchester. David Gray, B'ham. U2, Wembley. Athlete, Oxford. And various other bands on the up and coming.
  • Performance I've watched whilst most stoned - Richard Ashcroft, V Festival. It was amazing. When he sang "Lucky Man", I felt like I was gonna have an orgasm, right there and then.
  • Band/Artist I really want to see - Too many to name. Metric, Goldfrapp, White Lies, Paloma Faith, Bombay Bicycle Club, Jamie T, Biffy Clyro, Interpol, Arcade Fire, Florence and The Machine, Natalie Merchant, The National....
  • Bands/artists I've seen more than 4 times - Prince, probably close to 30 times. Embrace, Elbow, Placebo, Faithless, Stereophonics, Keane, Starsailor, Paul Weller, Doves, Feeder....
  • Shortest gig/set I've seen - Mel C, V Festival. She came on late afternoon, main stage. Did a couple of songs, then decided it would be a good idea to do a cover of "Anarchy In The Uk". It wasn't. The crowd pelted the stage with anything and everything; bottles, beer cups, sandwiches, clothing, shoes, cuddly toys, fruit, you name it.
  • Longest Gig attended - Prince, London. There was no support, the stage was in the middle of the Arena and he played for just over 3 1/2 hours in total, with a short 20 minute break in the middle.
  • Loudest gig - 30 Seconds To Mars, B'ham. No distortion in the speakers at all, just pure volume. Brilliant gig, supporting their second album. I had ringing in my ears for several days after that night. In fact, it was still there when I went to see Paramore at the same venue two days later. Oof!
  •  Best gig I've been to - So difficult to say. Elbow, B'ham was absolutely amazing. During the tour supporting their Leaders Of The Free World album. Despite good reviews, a building fan-base and a good choice of venue, the place was half empty. Guy had his leg in plaster if I remember correctly, spending much of the gig either sat on a chair or stumbling around the stage aided by a walking stick. There was lots of banter and crowd interaction, leaving us feeling like we'd just been down the road to watch our good friends play some of their songs to a small, select few. Prince has rarely disappointed, particularly his Diamonds and Pearls tour when his stage set-up, his band, his dancers and the sets he played were fantastic. JJ72, B'ham were brilliant both times I managed to catch them in small clubs. Embrace, B'ham about five or six years ago were superb. A band who look like they absolutely love what they do. I was right at the front at this one, and Danny, the lead singer held my hand for support when he climbed on the barrier. Woop! Tori Amos, Glastonbury was a set I don't think I'll ever forget. Her keyboards failed, so she played the entire set on an amplified piano. Radiohead, London supporting their Kid A album, but mostly sticking to what they knew. The gig was in a huge, fuck-off marquee plonked on the edge of a park. R.E.M. Hyde Park was a fantastic day. Managed to bag some 'Gold Circle' tickets, giving us access to the area right by the stage. Michael Stipe was in fine form, the set list was a great choice and we even had Patti Smith doing a guest appearance.
  • Best thing I've blagged from a gig - Faithless stage set list. I don't even know where it is anymore, since I've been moving around like a nomad. I'm hoping it's still in the box with all my old gig tickets and memorabilia.
  • Biggest cock/cocks at a gig - Liam Gallagher, everytime. 'Nuff said. The guy is a complete cock, period. Hard Fi come runners up for their utterly abysmal performance at V Festival a few years ago when they were all clearly our of their heads, desperately trying to play half decent but ending up sounding like a shitty school band.
I'm sure there's much more I can list here, if I took the time to think about it. And I know that come next week, this list would have different results, but as it stands at the moment....this is it.

*disclaimer* Most of the artists/bands above are always subject to change.

3 parlez:

gekkogirl said...

So totally know what you mean about music and moods. I am slowly learning not to listen to certain tracks because no matter what frame of mind I am in, they always make me feel really mad.

Sharon said...

Oh my goodness, Status Quo. A long-since-ex boyfriend gave me a ticket to one of their gigs as a Christmas present years ago. He was a big fan; I'd rather have gone swimming in toxic waste.

bedshaped said...

But that's the beauty of music. The power to move and manipulate emotions. What else even comes close?

I wouldn't like admit how many times I've seen them, purely as a 'plus 1' for my brother, you understand. The other fans at the gigs though, now they are a bunch of some dedicated dudes....and dudettes.