A great location for an outdoor venue…right in the heart of the city centre. It was one of the main reasons I chose to go to Leeds when tossing up which of these Grandslam gigs to go to back in the early spring. Leeds would be fairly cheap and hassle free for me to get to, no matter what mode of public transport I decided on and with the venue being right in the heart of the city, there was little chance of me getting lost or facing worry when leaving the venue post-gig. And…to be honest…at the time of booking the gigs, I didn’t have much interest in seeing Pretenders…so I saw them being off the bill at Leeds as a bonus (silly me!).
I changed accommodation with less than a week to go. I had booked in to the Discovery Inn right in the centre, but my single room was costing me £65 – on the steep side for a single room…but, yes, the location was handy. I kept an eye on booking.com (booking.com is my friend! The convenience of being able to book ahead without making payment up front is…a bloody god send – SERIOUSLY!) for something cheaper and not too far out of the city centre around a week leading up to the gig. I didn’t like my chances much, but I was hopeful. Anyway, this one place appeared during the middle of last week and I thought I’d snap it up before I was billed for the Discovery Inn stay.
I basically just spent the night as a lodger in this person’s house. It was all set up really well. They use a Keysafe lock for the keys to the property. You let yourself in and use the amenities of the house (living room, kitchen, bathroom) and the bedroom you’re in is locked with its own key. It was a fab alternative, I must say! A hotel is great…but there were bonuses to this place. A little further out of the city meant it was a very quiet location…I’m not sure the Discovery Inn would have been so quiet – the heart of Leeds on a Saturday night? No!!
Money was the main factor in the change. This new place was costing me all of £25 to stay at…and although just that little further out of the city to require me getting a taxi back to it, post-gig (cab fare just under £10) – I still saved myself near enough half the cost by staying there.
ANYWAYS! On to the gig!
A walk back down to the city centre from my overnight abode saw me arrive at the gates around 5.40pm. Google Maps gave me a bloody bum steer trying to find Millennium Square. Could I find it?! Nope! I was walking past a shopping mall, and there were like…kinda door staff out the front entrance and so I asked one of them for directions. Yes! Thank you doorman…fuck you Google Maps! Lol
Unlike Maidstone, we were right on cue for Leeds. There weren’t many people lined up at the gates, despite the time. Anyway, 6pm – bang on – the gates are open! In the short queue I got to talking to a lovely couple, Jenny and…I feel TERRIBLE but his name escapes me! (I used to be so great with names…I’m getting old!). We ended up at the front barrier together and were having a good old natter, passing the time.
I met up with another friend, Janet, briefly before KT was due on. Our catch up was all too fleeting, but we shall make amends for that in future.
KT arrived on stage bang on 7.15pm – and her first song was one I was hoping to hear at Maidstone…my favourite, It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am. First time I heard it was in Dublin last year…and, wow. It was just…my song. Well, at least it felt it in Dublin last year. It just…had a resonance for me. I just fell in love with it. So I was over the moon she opened with that on Saturday night. The rest of her set was fairly much as it was in Maidstone, with a change of song mash up for Black Horse And The Cherry Tree – kazoo still featuring prominently though. (I love that!) We were treated to a new song as well. She has a new album coming out in several weeks – produced by Nick McCarthy…good to know he is doing stuff post-Franz. The new song was sounding great. I wouldn’t expect anything less from her. She’s always fab…always engaging, and never disappoints.
At this point, the skies are looking threatening. You could feel it in the air. A bit of drizzle…a few heavier spits of rain…but not too bad.
Minds come on at 8.45 sharp. The usual killer rendition of The Signal And The Noise ensues…Jim strutting about, owning the stage, wielding his mic stand. A rare one in that he arrived on stage NAKED! Lol…don’t have a heart attack, ladies! I merely mean…devoid of glasses. Perhaps he was not wanting to tempt fate weather wise? It didn’t stop Gordy Goudie though. He was in his shades for most of the set! Just when you think Gordy couldn’t possibly get any cooler.
The rain was trying so very hard to oblige with Waterfront…but not enough to dampen spirits…enough to add to the atmosphere of the song though.
Great versions of Love Song and Let There Be Love.
Then Jim prepares to intro KT for Promised You A Miracle and talks of the previous weekend (I really can’t recall if this happened at Maidstone or not now…I must ask those who with me if they remember…I have a vague recollection…but I may just be dreaming it…I DIGRESS) in which he said when he watched her perform her opening set for them on the Acoustic tour last year “she blew me off” and then went on to say “and then I say ‘and she’ll blow me off again tonight’. Of course, I thought nothing of it…good Catholic boy and all that (at this point I’m thinking “yeah, sure, Jim…who are you trying to kid more? Us or yourself? Lol). We come off stage at the end of the gig and the rest of the band are like ‘what the fuck did you say that for?’” – obviously for comedic effect! The guy knows what he’s doing…honestly. Lol.
From this point on I AM NOT SAYING A WORD…I’ll leave it all to your VERY capable imaginations…I don’t think it would take much for anyone to work out where my mind wandered off to…albeit just for a few seconds. Lol
All that filth was quickly forgotten a few songs later when….the opening chords to Hunter And The Hunted started. I can’t even tell you articulately what it meant to be there for that…
Like Maidstone with Someone Somewhere In Summertime – although that was just the first time performance of the original arrangement of the song – this time for HATH it was truly a first! My first time hearing it live at a gig I was in attendance for.
And, it was beautiful. It was raining…I didn’t give a shit. It was just…wow. All the extra meaning this song has for me due to the past few years and the art and everything. I was actually too overcome to cry (what happened at Maidstone too)…but I loved it totally.
As usual, the band were tight and cohesive…and having LOADS of fun! In spite of the weather, they were all having a ball. Ged, esp. I don’t think I’d ever witnessed him having such a great time – overtly evidently so. It was great to see. Gordy as well. Charlie singing along to ever song. Sarah beaming her beautiful smile. Cherisse in full “Animal” mode. Jim, like in days of old, just moving about EVERYWHERE…lots of mic stand tossing about (I’m not going to say he was ‘tossing off’! Lol…though…I just did! Oh, bollocks. Lol).
Again, just a phenomenal gig. And it is why I go and see them again and again…because they deliver again and again. They fill my world with joy and light and hope and fun and give me such happy times and great memories.
On Saturday night the added bonus of catching one of Cherisse’s drum sticks happened, AT LAST! I was filming via Facebook Live. I had just stopped filming Sanctify Yourself when I realised I should start filming again, in case Jim did a little bit of dad dancing during the final goodbye from the stage. As he’s having his little dance, Cherisse comes down from her kit with her sticks in hand. She holds her hands out in a gesture of “who wants a stick?” I am throwing my right hand up in the air and shouting “Oh, Cherisse…PLEASE!!!!” Flailing my right arm about madly. She sees me and gestures for me to get ready as she throws the stick towards me…I AM WILLING IT TO MAKE IT TO ME! And, FUCK ME! It just lands PERFECTLY in my hand! I grab onto it for dear life. FUCKING, YES! ONE HANDED – I BLOODY CAUGHT IT! You can hear me squealing with delight on the footage. I was still filming away as I caught it…squeal of delight evident for all and sundry. Lol. And I just kept hold of it like my life depended on it until I got back to my lodgings.
Thank you again guys for the most amazing gig. Absolute highlights were Hunter And The Hunted and Someone Somewhere In Summertime…”burning slow, with me in the rain” – the atmosphere for that was just perfect!
Love you guys so so much! See you at Enfield (unless I have some fortune come my way in the mean time)!
That’s the next SM gig on the agenda…but in the meantime, the next actual musical event for me is THE GREEN MAN FESTIVAL IN THE BRECON BEACONS! Geez! What a lucky cow I am to have won those weekend camping tickets?! It’s going to be AMAZING! And, hopefully the weather will be on our side too.