Well, Saturday’s Trevor Horn gig is almost upon us – and I have amazing news…which I assume I am allowed to share publicly, seeing as he did tell me publicly on my Facebook timeline – Mick MacNeil will be at the show!!! Performing! Only for Brothers In Arms…but, still. For me this is monumental! I have never seen Mick perform in any capacity before. And even if it is only for one song, I cannot tell you how much I am bubbling with excitement about this!
After this gig, August is still quiet. There’ll be things to sort out on the home front in August.
In September things get going. On the 12th, a bit of home music with You Am I at The Garage in London. A newly added gig now – Kelly Jones in Oxford on the 18th. I missed the first lot of dates, so when Cherisse revealed through her social media that there was a smattering of new dates I went and had a look to see what was nearest (geographically) and Oxford was it. And just a few days before the drum show in Manchester. Cherisse will be sick of the sight of me! Lol
A few weeks break again…and then a little spell of gigs in October. Alice Cooper (with The Stranglers!) at the O2 London on the 10th. Then a trip down to Bristol for a new gig on the list – Toyah at The Fleece on the 20th. A gig with Birdy. Our time at The Stranglers gig in March was…erm…something and there hasn’t been much of a chance for us to have been out gigging together since. I dragged her along to John Grant (not TOTALLY unwillingly, mind…but she’s not as much of a fan of Love Is Magic – which he was showcasing on the tour – than previous material), so it is only fair I make amends. I’ve never seen Toyah. Can’t say I am a big fan…not because I don’t like her…just, she hasn’t been much on my music radar, that’s all. But I am looking forward to it.
We complete October by me going to see Belgian band Whispering Sons at The Moth Club in Hackney on the 25th.
The final extra gig is yet ANOTHER Stranglers gig. Ruth and I are making a little German holiday of it. First port of call is Hamburg on Dec 6th, then on we go to BERLIN!! (A many, MANY years “bucket list” destination for me…some reasons will be rather obvious…and we may just try and take in a tour of Hansa Studios, if we can…there’s a major clue as to why Berlin has been on the bucket list for so long) for the next gig on the 8th. Speaking of people getting sick of the sight of me. Lol. I think JJ and Baz may end up like that too!
This will make the number of times I have seen The Stranglers only surpassed by the number I’ve seen Simple Minds. I’m trying to get a quick tally in my head…I think by Berlin it’ll be 8 times.
So, that’s it, for now.
July 27th Trevor Horn – Glasgow
Sept. 12th You Am I – London
Sept. 18th Kelly Jones – Oxford
Sept. 21st UK Drum Show – Manchester
Oct. 10th Alice Cooper – London
Oct. 20th Toyah – Bristol
Oct. 25th Whispering Sons – London
Dec. 6th The Stranglers – Hamburg
Dec. 8th The Stranglers – Berlin
It was quite a hike from Luton to Bristol. First a trip to London, then on from there to Bristol. I arrived at 3.45pm and met up with a friend shortly after.
We had a bite to eat at the Boston Tea Party at the top of Park Street. A nice place. Looks deceptively small on the outside, but has plenty of seating upstairs. I needed to fuel up before the gig, so had a chai latte, a veggie burger and chips.
We queue outside that venue around 6pm. We were met with a few other fans after…and the queue got progressively longer. Another friend us in the queue around 6.40 and we were let in a few minutes before 7pm.
Support act was Dr Feelgood. A curious support in that there is not a single original member of the band within the group. But they were great all the same. Great musicianship. The singer was quite a showman but at least he was animated and not standing about looking like he’d prefer to be elsewhere.
The only two Dr Feelgood songs I know are Milk And Alcohol and Roxette and they performed those. The only thing I’d say as a negative was, although the overall sound level was great, the singer was lost in the mix. He was too low. Couldn’t much hear him either singing or playing the harmonica. Other than that, the set was great and I really enjoyed them.
All good. Everything going well.
Just a short break and then out come the boys. We were in a prime position, right in front of JJ. I filmed a bit here and there and have one complete song of them performing set opener Tank.
All was going good. The following day was Dave Greenfield’s 70th birthday, and my friend, Ruth, had made a special celebratory banner for him. After a few songs, Ruth produced the banner from her pocket and we held it up against the barrier. JJ noticed it and nodded approval, then he went over and got Dave’s attention and pointed it out to him. A short while later, Baz noticed it too and asked Ruth to throw it up on the stage to him. Baz then clipped it to the front of Dave’s keyboard stand and it stayed there for the rest of the gig.
About half way through the set I was starting to feel unwell. Light headed and just…not sure of myself. A little overheated, but it was so cramped in there, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get my jumper off.
I sat down and would have probably revived myself had I been allowed to stay there a few mins, but security guard came over and told Ruth I needed to stand back up, that it was too dangerous for me to sit at the barrier. I stood back up and I was not too bad initially. JJ checked with me that I was okay and I had mouthed to him I was fine and gave him a thumbs up. I was just trying to keep calm and ride the feeling out…but it didn’t work and after a few minutes I was out for the count. I shared the footage on the blog of what ensued.
I could feel myself being pulled over the barrier and feel being carted off. I was conscious again and saying “Guys! I’m okay!” Lol. Obviously NOT okay, but at least conscious again. They took me out a side exit and sat me on the ground for a few mins. They then got me a chair and I sat there for a few more mins. I was allowed to go back in but had missed a few songs. It was so crowded, I was right at the back and I wasn’t going to risk trying to get to the front and get reunited with my friends.
I didn’t stay in the venue again for too long. There was a bar out the front and some seating, so I just sat and waited until the gig was done.
The Stranglers are ALWAYS top class. They are never anything else. Set was great, I mean the actual stage set…the set list of songs were too. Some songs as a fan but not “uber” fan I was unfamiliar with. And there were a couple of new tracks played and I caught a bit of one of them.
They’re a stellar act. The venue is small, intimate, and on a personal level, could do with a bit of ventilation. Great otherwise though.
I’ve seen them at least once every year now since 2016 and this year I may end up seeing them twice, all things boding well!
You’ll NEVER be disappointed at a Stranglers gig…even if you do find yourself fainting in the middle of it.
The latest Stranglers tour may have been called Back On The Tracks…but I managed to stop Baz and JJ in their tracks on Thursday night. Towards the end of the first clip and the start of the next – made a right show of myself. Yay! :-/
Tonight, one year ago…yet ANOTHER dream was fulfilled. I never thought it possible! Surely ONE dream in a week being fulfilled is enough? Actually…the previous two weeks had been just…beyond anything I EVER imagined.
Meeting David Tennant. Having a photo with him and my ticket stub signed by him.
Taking my first trip to Glasgow…for a Minds gig (my second trip to Glasgow in total).
Meeting Jim for the first time in Liverpool.
Meeting him AGAIN in Bridlington. Having Catherine dedicate Rivers Of Ice to me! Posing for photos with Jim. Him putting his arm around me! Just…I could have ALREADY died happy!
And then, at Bristol…this!
Another dream come true. To have him say my name!
I just wanted to hear him say it to me! I NEVER expected him to say it in a room full of people! And then I am put on the backfoot…my head is spinning…he just said my name and now I am expected to respond to a question! The pedant in me is thinking, “This is an important question, get it right!” And the other part of me is saying, “How would I know? I have NO bloody idea! I left school when I was 14! You are ssooo asking the wrong person here! But…I love you!”
I can’t tell you how many times I have played it. Not…EVERY day…and not very often now. But today I did. A very special anniversary.
One year on, and Jim…thank you. For ever…pandering to such a silly, pathetic, sad excuse of a fangirl. It means everything. It always will.
It had been some 9 months since I saw the boys play The Lexington in August last year and I was long overdue seeing them again. Opening up with Two To Four Degrees off their latest fabulous Wireless World album. The crowd were into it from the get go. Only a small crowd as tonight the boys were relegated to support…but they were the main feature for me!
Amazing they made it at all, as I’d had a quick chat to Steve (guitarist and keyboard/programming wizard) before their set and he was saying he’d had his car broken into while they were performing the previous night in Manchester 🙁 I, for one, was super glad he and Andy (drummer extraordinaire) made it down to Brizzle.
If I was to give any criticism to the set the guys did, it was that the vocal tracks could have done with the vocals turned up a bit…but that is being pernickety.
The set was fab otherwise.
Another chat with Steve and Andy afterwards, a ticket stub memento and a pic with them. And thank you for the beer/stout, Andy, it went down nicely. Thank you. To both of you for being great, chatting and just being awesome guys :-)) See you again soon in London.
We stayed for Vessels and I was not in any way familiar with their stuff. I went in with an open mind and open ears. They were very competent. The sound was great…but…I dunno, I just wasn’t feeling it last night. One track they performed was interesting and I was kind of into that one…but then they just went back to sounding a little…”samey”. There wasn’t anything wrong with them…I just wasn’t feeling it last night. They have a trance vibe to them and they were going down really well with the rest of the crowd. Had I been in the right mood/mindset for them, maybe I’d have got into them. But, I’d have preferred more of the Warm Digits boys to be honest. They were the big drawcard for me last night.
I shall leave with some footage of Warm Digits performing the title track off their most recent album, Wireless World. Once again, thanks to Steve and Andy for being awesome. Love you guys! ❤️
The first of a summer long season of outdoor gigs for Simple Minds kicks off on Saturday in the beautiful Croatian city of Split. A FREE concert, no less, put on by the city for its residents. I looked into going…but there was no chance of doing it on a shoe string. Easyjet only fly over there every second day or so, so it would have meant flying over tomorrow and staying until Monday. I couldn’t afford it. Fares were already near £100 each way (I think when I looked it was £93 for the outbound and about £178 for the inbound.) I couldn’t justify that…and a 4 night stay on top. Nope.
Before the gig was announced I had booked to go to Bristol to see Warm Digits, so that’ll be my gig. I get a live music fix at least, just not with SM. But I love my Warm Digits boys as you know…and it’s been a long time since August and The Lexington. And this time I’m making sure I see them at least twice and will see them again in London in early June (with a Minds gig in between. Yay!)
Anyway…SM are packed up and ready to go. Cherisse is keeping fans updated on her Instagram page. To check out the latest goings on, just click on the fab pic of her and Jim she shared earlier (great composition, Cherisse…you got the correct ear in shot 😉 #fetish).
Oh…don’t I still wish I was making a split for Split?
This really was quite an unexpected treat. Catherine was very generously giving away a few tickets last week on her Facebook page. Before I commited to putting my hat in the ring, I made sure I could get there. I wasn’t going to waste her time by putting my hand up for tickets if I then couldn’t make it.
I looked at the cost of getting to Bristol – quite cheap if I get myself to London first and get a National Express coach there and back. I checked with Yvonne that she would be okay with having me stay for the night, and as a way of doing so, she’d be my “plus one” and come along to the gig with me.
That sorted, I put my name in for the chance. Wonderfully, my name was picked and so on Thursday morning, off I went to Bristol again.
Delays from hideous traffic around London meant I didn’t get to Bristol until about 4.20pm. I took the wrong route down to the Harbourside and Birdy actually beat me down there (and she was at work until 5pm).
(Couldn’t help but give the pic of Birdy and I a subtle “improvement”. Lol)
We had a while to wait to get in. We got talking to another ticket recipient, Shaun, and his wife Dawn. A wonderful couple and lovely people. We could hear Catherine going through soundcheck as we were waiting to get in. We were champing at the bit! Catherine was sounding amazing!
We were let through just MINUTES before she appeared onstage. And WOW! It was great to hear stuff that got a rest during the acoustic sets with Simple Minds. I got to hear Popular and Chip On Your Shoulder – the first time since last December, but the surprise was One For Sorrow! She hadn’t performed it last December, and not on the acoustic tour, so it was a first for me to hear it live…and wonderful!
She was fabulous…but of course it SSOOO made me wish that I was able to see her in Chester the next day, but finances just could not stretch. I was hoping they would. I had purchased a ticket in the hope I would make it, but it would have been more expensive for me to get there and back and stay overnight. Funds had been severely depleated after all the touring around for SM.
I am forever thankful for the tickets from Catherine, without which Bristol would not have been doable either.
I had not eaten since arriving in London at midday (a doughnut), so we headed off to the stalls for a bite to eat and a drink. We sat on a side wall and had our food and drink, and took in the sounds of British Sea Power from a distance. They seemed pretty good and were going down well with the crowd.
(Temptation was put in front of me…but I resisted! One doughnut was enough for one day. Lol)
The Manics appeared around 9pm and started with Motorcycle Emptiness. Quite a crowd-pleaser. I am not super aware of the Manics’ canon of songs. I really like them, but have (like I was with SM for many a year) not explored their back catalogue extensively and only know bits and pieces. The first song they performed I recognised was You Stole The Sun From My Heart. Others I could just about sing along to were Ocean Spray (one Manics single I actually bought! And I did have a copy of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours too, back in the day), If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, Tsunami and, the rousing finale of Design For Life. I think they performed a couple of other songs from “This Is My Truth” I should have recognised, but it had been SSOO long since I’d heard the album, they weren’t as familiar to me.
They were…AMAZING! Just wow! JDB and Nicky were on top form. They knocked it out of the park. I’d love to see them again, and get myself familiar with their music once more…and actually explore it more extensively this time. Amazing guys!
There was a little time to explore Bristol the following day…and…the wallet got stretched YET AGAIN, as there was a record shop a little Birdy had told me about called Rise, and well, they had THIS!
I had never seen it before, and the cover art obviously caught my eye. So very in the theme of Hokusai. I will definitely give it a spin very soon!
One final thank you to Catherine for the tickets and the opportunity to see such a wonderful gig. You are just such an amazing lady! I love to bits! I hope to see you again very soon…with new material! It’s going to be so exciting!
(No pics of the acts themselves, but I took a bit of live footage I shared on my Facebook page.)
Tried to take pics of the whole band – with varying degrees of success. Definitely need a newer, better camera!
This one of Charlie turned out quite good. I was happy with this one.
Not as good. Blurry, and Charlie looks a bit grumpy (trust me to get the ever-smiling CB looking grumpy AF. Lol)
Tried with Cherisse and snapped part of Sir’s tummy instead. Lol (Sorry, Sir!)
My attempt to snap Sir is the epitome of how I feel being near him – blurry, out of focus, in a haze! Lol. (I can’t apologise enough, lovely man.) I shouldn’t even share it, really. But, hey, might as well continue to show how crap I can be artistically (and not just artistically…in general).
Not a bad one of Ged. Let down by composition and “obstacles”…
One day I may succeed in getting a fab picture of Gordy.
Sorry Sarah. Snapped at just the wrong nano second :-/
Maybe this mounted police officer I saw in Bristol the following day as I made my way back home should have arrested me for crimes against photography. Lol
I thought I was going to be late into London. Was panicking about missing the coach to London and then traffic being chaotic and getting there with very little time to spare. As it was, I got there in plenty of time – with two hours before doors opened.
I was totally dolled up. It was the Palladium after all. I had to make an effort! (You can’t see the full effect of the dress, but there were stars all over it, and my boots were shiny and sparkly.)
Those boots had heels…I haven’t worn heels for YEARS. Mercifully it was just a short walk down the road from where the coach dropped me off near Marble Arch down to to the Palladium. Normally a short walk…but it was a Saturday…London was HEAVING…and I was in heels. Lol. It killed time.
I reached the HMV store and thought “Ooh that gold vinyl pressing of Hunky Dory came out yesterday, I wonder if they have any copies?” and got pulled into the store. Lo! There was a whole wall of them. I had £20 on me and so…
Once outside the Palladium, I had a small reccie of the place. Didn’t really plan on doing anything. It’s London…too chaotic…and well, it would have been greedy after Bridlington! I did get my obligatory pic of the venue and my view of the stage.
I didn’t know what to do to kill the time. At one point, I just stood outside over the way. I noticed a man near me with a VIP lanyard and got to chatting with him. His name is Tim, and he’s from Bedford. Small world, as I am just down the road in Luton. He’d seen them on and off through the years. Our chat extended on to a lady next to us. Tim was waiting on a friend and when he arrived, they went off together. It left me chatting with the lady. Her name is Alison, and she was there primarily to see Catherine.
We chatted further once we went inside. Alison had come to know Catherine from being a fan of Paul Draper and Mansun. And of course my way through to Catherine’s music was via SM, so it was a lovely convergence. Two fans united in appreciation of Catherine, discovering her via our differing routes. BUT! In a crazy, small world, as we chatted away further, we discovered that we only live half a mile away from each other!! The utter randomness of us beginning to chat outside, to find we are both Lutonians was just nuts! We have friended each other on Facebook, exchanged details and will meet again soon. So amazing!
Catherine’s set was beautiful, as ever. And she looked resplendent in her gold suit. I found myself sitting almost directly behind her mum, which was a lovely touch.
I met up with Alison again and we waited by the merch stand. Alison had bought Catherine’s album and was hoping to get it signed. I was so wanting to tell Catherine about the crazy serendipity of Alison and I meeting outside and living so close. I had a bronze Sharpie to hand to Catherine as I could see she was using a black one to sign things, and the bronze would be so much nicer on the cover.
Merch signed, selfie taken, a quick loo stop and back in for the main affair.
Wow! What a gig! The chandelier never looked so perfectly placed and lit up. It was stunning. The crowd were up as soon as Jim hit the stage…well, as soon as Cherisse started banging away, actually.
Not much else I can say about the Palladium other than it was just a BUZZ. It was brilliant! Jim was on fire….as performer, showman, funnyman. He just has it. He really does. He’s just captivating. In a different way to how he used to be. I love how mesmerising he was in the past…the moves, the aloofness (which was no doubt a blend of not being quite so self-assured, even though he talks of not having nerves back then in interviews), the edginess…cool detachment. Of course now he is engaging and comfortable in his own skin…and that pulls one in. He makes you feel like you’re…hanging out with him. Well, that’s how it makes me feel anyway. You feel part of it. Not like he’s performing FOR you…but with you…if that makes sense? Which it doesn’t! Lol. We’re not on the stage, as fans, but there doesn’t feel like there’s a stage. The way the gigs open with NGD? It’s a masterstroke…and what he does is.
I met Alison again after the show. She loved it! A converted SM fan! We were making our separate ways home. The train for Alison. The coach for me. We will meet again soon, for sure!
I had a VERY long walk back to my coach stop in those damn heels! I should have just walked down to Marble Arch…but NO…I walked to Baker Street instead…well, Gloucester Place, actually. My walk was twice as long as it needed to be. I’m a glutton! But worth every single ache and blister 😉
Up half the night and then up early to get a coach back into London and from there, another onto Bristol, and then onwards to the PIC’s place. Arrived at Birdy’s around 5.30pm. Was panicking as I set out that I (as usual) would not get into London in plenty of time. Amazingly, I caught the earlier coach in, and had an hour to wait at Victoria for the Bristol coach. Phew! As it transpired, longer still, as the Bristol coach got delayed by 45 mins.
A very good night was had by myself and Birdy. We saw in the “New Sunrise” and had tender heads after some rest until the late morning.
We arrived in Briz just after 5pm…and had to do the usual reccie of the place. For Birdy, it’s her local venue, so she knows it well. This was my first ever time to Colston Hall (I’d only ever been to one other venue in Bristol, and that was the Hippodrome in 2002 to see a production of Beauty And The Beast – in the midst of my spell of whooping cough! And just prior to a trip back to Oz with said whooping cough! 2002 nearly did me in!), so the reccie was essential.
A small bite to eat for us both, then we met Birdy’s friend and got ourselves set for showtime! Wow! I was in the second row, two in from the centre aisle. It really could not have been a better view. I didn’t feel I needed to be in the front row. It was perfect where I was.
Catherine was just wonderful again. Beautiful in her shimmering playsuit and the highest of heels (which she removes for keyboard playing). As you’ll see from yesterday’s postings, I was able to take some photos and record P.S. Fuck You.
This time I decided to buy a 7″ copy of Popular and as I was waiting in the queue, I was thinking “I’ll get her to sign it ‘you’re a bastard’, that’ll be so cool!”. Well, you know…I am one. A double one, in fact. The result of two estranged marriages so I am a ‘double bastard’, not that we talk much in those terms these days. Catherine was obliging, which was fab of her. She must have thought it a rather strange request, but I love it! Thank you, Catherine 🙂
And here we were. On to the show I probably had anticipated the most due to my positioning. Well, both anticipated and dreaded in equal measure, at times. During the lead up to the gigs, and all that “I’ve put my foot in it. I’ve pissed him off. He doesn’t like me any more.” saga that was obviously going on in my own head…because, as the gigs have gone on…it has all been washed away. Any of those feelings that I had of him being pissed off with me, etc…all long gone. Do you shake hands with someone you’re pissed off with? Do you hug someone when posing for a photo with them if you’re pissed off with them? No…I shouldn’t think so. Do you offer them a gem of double entendre they do NOTHING with? Lol. No!!
I Facebook Live recorded NGD. I was ready this time. I felt I needed to oblige to the venue request of “no filming” at Liverpool…but I heard no such thing at Bristol, so I needed to do it. They had placed steps right by us for Jim to get down, so it was ON!
If you follow me on Facebook, then you’ve seen the vid…if not, here’s a link…
He didn’t wander off very far this time. Expected to lose sight of him completely, as what happened at the Palladium. He disappeared completely on Saturday night. Lol. Maybe he was worried he’d get lost again?
He was on absolute top form from the get go. New bits of banter I had not heard had me in hysterics. Him talking of his and Charlie’s escapades being in Bristol and escaping the Monmouth countryside during early SM recordings. Seeing acts at Colston Hall. Elvis Costello, Van Morrison (“he was grumpy” he says. Myself and someone else in the crowd replied “Hmmm, no change there, then”! Lol), XTC – which got a great round of applause (kinda local boys, as they hail from just up the road in Swindon)…and Gary Numan. He says “After the gig, Charlie says ‘So, what’d you think?’. I said ‘I think he’s going bald'”. The crowd cracks up…me in particular. He then says “Look who’s laughing now. He has more hair than me now!” I wanted to shout out “If you can call it ‘hair'”! – Gary’s ‘weave’, I mean. It’s a bit akin to astroturf, as opposed to grass…but it works for him. Bless him!
We have eye contact at times. And I am not shying away this time. I am in raptures. Loving my spot, loving the set. At one point he pokes his tongue out at me…and I really don’t know what to do with that! I feel myself going scarlet again. If I was the brazen type, maybe I’d have poked mine out back to him…perhaps I was thinking “did you just do that TO ME? Was there someone behind me?” I didn’t look behind me to see. But…he seemed to be looking straight at me. Of course…it floored me and I turned to mush.
I made this gif of Paul Keating from when he was in parliament back in the day…this is exactly what I feel like EVERY SINGLE TIME there is an interaction between us…
He talks about how the whole acoustic project came to be…relays the story of the money and the Swiss chocolate…except, the past few times he has been pondering whether the correct term for more than one Toblerone should be kept as as the singular collective or whether it should be pluralised (ie: Toblerones). On Monday night he mentions this again, then turns around and says, “Larelle will know.” (In a nano second, my head is saying, internal monologue style “Eh? Did he just…? How the fuck do I know?”) In the meantime he’s saying…looking at me “Is it Toblerone or Toblerones?” I SOMEHOW…and I still am not sure HOW, gain the resolve and fortitude to answer, “It’s plural. It’s plural”, complete with authoritative nod. I haven’t got a fucking Scooby! Lol. But it matters little…HE SAID MY NAME! I say it matters little…but I wish I’d been ready…because I am losing the sound of it, because I was so ill prepared for it. I want to hear it over and over! I’ll be on an eternal search to find if someone filmed it now, to hear it again. I love you, Jim….but goddamn you for saying it when I wasn’t ready!!! Arrrrg!!! Lol
And, well… you can imagine how the rest of the gig went. Wonderfully. In a haze. Over too soon…
It was beyond all of my expectations. How we keep managing to trump the previous gig is just nucking futs!! (Deliberate Spoonerism)
Where the hell can the next one go?
I don’t want my bubble to burst. I don’t want it to end…
I don’t think I’ve had a bank holiday weekend like it…and doubt I ever will again.
There’s a few days now until back to back gigs in Brighton and Drury Lane…but yes…
“She’s a spaceface floating ’round / she’s never coming down” – these words were never truer.