Stewart Copeland – Royal Festival Hall, London – March 30th, 2019

After Thursday’s affair at The Stranglers gig, I was thankful to know that I’d be seated at the Stewart Copeland gig.

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From my memory of how the side seats looked when I was there for the Manic Street Preachers/The Anchoress Meltdown gig last June, the seats appeared like they’d give you a pretty good view. I suppose the rail could make it a little restricted with the view, especially if you’re a short person and sit low in your seat but for less than half the price of the stall seats, it made it an affordable last minute choice to go.

And I chose my seat well. There were seats either side of the auditorium. Both seats I was viewing when buying my ticket would have given me very similar views of the stage. It was just down to me whether I’d feel more comfortable facing the stage via facing it to the right or left. For some reason I couldn’t quite understand, I was favouring sitting on the left side. It ended up a great choice as from how you see in the few sneaky snaps I took, Stewart’s kit was facing – what was for him from the stage side perspective, the right side of the auditorium. I had a prime view.

He arrived on stage promptly at 7.30pm, wishing the crowd a good evening. Cracked some jokes about half of his children were probably in the audience…or the actual audience! Lol. He started with film scores.

Tunes from Rumble Fish, Wall Street, his work on the Ben Hur live experience, the Spyro videogame soundtrack….as well as the odd Police number (in which he gave praise to Sting – I nearly fell off my chair! “Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner – the greatest songwriter ever to exist on the planet” – quote/unquote!), playing Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Darkness and Miss Gradenko. And no Stewart Copeland set would be complete without The Equalizer, which he strangely did not perform but handed it over to the orchestra conductor who just happened to be a rather accomplished drummer himself. Stewart by way of a role swap, conducted the orchestra on the piece, as you can only imagine Stewart Copeland would…with quite a few giggles from the crowd as he made over exaggerated hand gestures and at one point did the Twist whilst still conducting away.

I think he also played something from The Rhythmatist and also played some Balinese Gamelan music.

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He talked in between every piece, telling a brief story behind each. How they came to take place, etc. Namedropping directors like Oliver Stone and Francis Ford Coppola along the way. Always bringing out chuckles in the audience.

With a 20 minute interval about 45 minutes into the set, the gig came in at just on two hours. All done and dusted by 9.30pm. I had never been out of a gig so early! I was back at Victoria by 9.50 and on the coach back to Luton just after 10pm. And back in the door at home by 11.30pm. Incredible!

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Any worries I may suffer a repeat of Thursday were long gone. I had a draining journey back from Weston-super-Mare during the day, but was soon revived with a meal and a short meander around the Southbank of London.

Stewart put on a great show. Great musicianship by the orchestra. Stewart was in good form both musically and as a general showman and class goofball.

It was a great night. I was so happy to have seen him. At times during the set I had been sitting their inwardly pinching myself, thinking “I am actually HERE watching Stewart Copeland play! This is fucking amazing!” And it was.

WANT! Gig Wish List – Number One!

OMG! I only saw this today. The gig (in London anyway) is 18 days away. I WANT THIS SOOOO MUCH! This man is…my drumming GOD. He is everything, in drumming terms, that I would ever aspire to be. I’ve never seen him live. It would be ssoooooo amazing to see him. So amazing.

I probably won’t be able to buy a ticket until next week. So…I just have to hope and pray some will be left then. Fingers crossed! It would be a DREAM to see him.

The Anchoress & Manic Street Preachers – Meltdown Festival – Royal Festival Hall, June 19th, 2018

Well, no gig would be complete without some kind of travel drama. Yesterday it was the APPALLING service given by Thameslink due to their absolute shambolic implementation of their new timetable. We waited an hour for a train to London! We arrived at Luton station at around 2.41pm. The next train due was at 3.28pm. Some 20 minutes into the wait, there’s an announcement of a bus replacement service to St Albans…but the way it was worded sounded as if we needed to get on the bus to St Albans to continue the journey to London. Not so…but it took some faffing about…leaving the station for said bus, only to find no bus outside, etc, for this to become clear. So, we go back in the station. Wait on the platform for the train, only to hear (AS THE TRAIN ARRIVES ON THE PLATFORM) that the train is leaving from a different platform. No chance of us legging it over to the other platform on time, so we wait yet another 20 mins for the next train.

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As we’re waiting for the next train to arrive, a member of staff walks past us and he says “are you ladies watching the trains?” SERIOUSLY?! I could have kicked his arse! “No, but it feels like we are!” was me reply to him. But internally my dialogue continued “Yep, we’re a right pair of trainspotters, us! A regular Renton and Spud.” Lol. Fuck me! The cheek! Anyway, finally by 3.49pm we were on a train to Blackfriars. Phew!

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Catherine arrived on stage promptly at 7.30pm and launched straight into a fabulous rendition of Long Year.

“No latecomers!” was the wording on the Festival Hall information regarding “doors open” and set times. I was sat right by the stairway leading down to the lower stall seats on the right side of the auditorium. Thought I had the best seat in the house, until Catherine’s set began, and stream upon stream of latecomers were indeed being allowed in! For the first few minutes I could understand that…but it just kept happening right through her set. So, thank you usher staff at the Festival Hall for ruining an otherwise amazing performance!

From Long Year onto One For Sorrow, a rocking version at that! Wow, loved it. Only the second time I’ve got to experience hearing One For Sorrow live and it didn’t disappoint.

What Goes Around, and again, rocking…full of energy, passion…vitriol, as a song like that should be!

Some video of new song Show Your Face, as well as some of You And Only You. Both cracking! (You’ll see from the footage just what a bugbear that seat right by the stairway became.)

Catherine’s set finished with Confessions Of A Romance Novelist. And as promptly as she arrived, she said goodnight. It was a very short set. She was gone too soon! I wanted more! And I missed her performing Bury Me. But I could see from the rest of the set list and how the performance went that maybe she felt that Bury Me wouldn’t be in keeping with how she wanted the set to be. The set was tight, blended well…Show Your Face slotted in really nicely…cannot wait to hear the new album! It’s gonna be just as fab as “Confessions” if the new song is anything to go by.

Really hoping it isn’t too long before we see more Anchoress gigs. But she’s a busy lady for pretty much the rest of the year with her work with Simple Minds, so we shall see!

As we waited for the Manics set to begin, there was music being played over the sound system…I hear the opening chords to Two To Four Degrees by Warm Digits and I am in raptures! The boys getting a nod! I hope everyone had their phones out Shazamming WTF was being played when they heard it. Love my boys! 🙂

Oh, what can I say about the Manics? I mean, geez, they just nail the whole live thing. Born to do it! Nicky was back on the stage, having very recently lost his mother. It was wonderful to see him back.

The set started with International Blue from new album Resistance Is Futile – I’m starting to believe that to be a quite aptly named album!

They just rocked the place, really. Next up was Motorcycle Emptiness and…the crowd erupts. The inevitable sing-a-long ensues and for one who is not a hard and fast fan (but by no means a person who doesn’t like the band! I have delved into the Manics on and off over the years), you just get swept up in the passion and love of it all. The band love the fans, and the fans certainly love the band! “You Love Us” is not a song of bravado, but pure fact!

At this point I’ve got to mention the mix of the sound. The vocals for both The Anchoress set and for the Manics were not mixed well. It’s why I missed what the new song Catherine performed was called, and I was missing most of the lyrics too. JDB was just as lost in the mix most of the night as well. The mix was actually quite distorted for both sets…but it detracts none from either of their respective performances.

Highlights of the Manics set for me? You Stole The Sun From My Heart (it has long been a fave track of theirs), their cracking cover of The Cure’s In Between Days, Catherine’s appearance for Little Baby Nothing and Dylan And Caitlyn, If You Tolerate This, Faster, Hold Me Like A Heaven, Tsunami, People Give In and ending with arguably the BEST crowd sing-along anthem that exists, Design For Life. Wow! What a set!

Trust me, people…resistance really IS futile!

Next up on the Prip world tour is a trip to Edinburgh and Newcastle for the Rip It Up exhibition, a talk from Bruce Findlay and Ian Rankin, followed by ANOTHER gig with those Warm Digits boys again…this time on home turf! (Well, for one half of them anyways…Mr Steve Jefferis.)

The Manics (AND ANCHORESS!) Meltdown!

9.59 am I phoned the Southbank Centre to join the queue for tickets to Manic Street Preachers – supported by The Anchoress – about 11 minutes past 11 my call was answered. For how long it had taken to get through, I was not hopeful for tickets. Nine Inch Nails and My Bloody Valentine tickets had already sold out…and the Manics were only going to be a matter of time, if by the time I asked the agent on the phone had not said “Sorry, those tickets have just sold out, I’m afraid” …but, YAY! I got two tickets! And good ones too! Right here! Happy days!