Saturday, 23 July 2011

Elbow - The O2 28 March 2011

From the earliest ticket in my collection to the most recent.  First things first though - this is not my actual ticket for the gig.  The ticket here is one I collected from a member of staff on the way out so that I had something for the collection.  Tragic eh?  A visit to a gig at the O2 entails you surrendering your ticket on entry in exchange for a wristband, see exhibit A:

This was the first time I'd been to see Elbow and my first visit to the O2.  The date coincided nicely with the GLW's birthday and our wedding anniversary so we decided to push the boat out and booked into the Radisson hotel on Canary Wharf.  This photo was taken from our room after the show.  The O2 looks like a spaceship when it's all lit up.  Apologies for the poor picture quality, it was taken on my iPod.

As for the venue, I liked it.  Easy to get to, especially if your hotel is on the opposite bank of the Thames, plenty of choices for pre gig food and drink but avoid Union Square, the service was lousy - our waitress took our order and then went on a break without placing it with the kitchen or bar staff - and too many items on the limited menu were unavailable.  The food itself was okay but by the time it arrived all the enjoyment was long gone.  And they made us miss the support act.  All the venue staff were smiley and helpful and the view and sound from our viewpoint on the floor was very good.  Drinks in the arena itself though were silly money - £3.20 for a 500ml bottle of Coke, sheesh.

The show itself was a triumph.  The majority of the setlist was taken from their two most recent albums, both of which are very close to my heart.  Guy Garvey's lyrics speak to me in a way that no others do and songs like Starlings and Open Arms can reduce me to tears in seconds flat.  He's a very engaging avuncular stage presence and the crowd were putty in his hands.  And to see these songs performed live with my best girl by my side left me feeling like my heart might burst.  Just gorgeous.

Video is Open Arms live at the O2 28 March 2011

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Wonder Stuff - Brixton Academy 24 October 1989

In early 1989 I saw The Wonder Stuff on television doing Unbearable and was instantly taken with their jangly guitar racket, big hair and the ‘I didn’t like you very much when I met you, and now I like you even less’ chorus.  I mentioned them at work the following day and my boss told me that he had their album.  I borrowed The Eight Legged Groove Machine and that was me hooked.  Shortly after, they announced dates in London and I bought tickets for me and a friend.  It was my first visit to Brixton Academy and my first sighting of The Wonder Stuff live.  I have since seen them live more often than any other band - something like 20 times I think.  The support came from The Sandkings and Neds Atomic Dustbin.

Video is Unbearable - The Wonder Stuff

Tickets please!

When the tickets for my first Wonder Stuff gig arrived, I was very impressed that they were illustrated with the Hup album artwork.  Most of my previous tickets had been black and white and not particularly interesting.  After the show I decided to keep it as a souvenir and so started my collection of gig tickets.  There are some notable holes in my collection, every gig I went to before that one for a start.  There are also some notable holes in the tickets that are in my collection thanks to water damage, but more of that later.  Gigs that I have attended that I do not have the ticket for (grouped by venue) include:
  • Bucks Fizz at Hastings White Rock Pavilion (my first gig – the shame);
  • Budgie on Hastings pier;
  • Carter USM, Electric Six, Big Yoga Muffin and Wrathchild at The Crypt in Hastings;
  • Budgie at The Assembly Halls in Tunbridge Wells;
  • Gillan at Brighton Dome;
  • Monsters of Rock at Castle Donington in 84;
  • Accept, Iron Maiden, Robert Cray and Dio at Hammersmith Odeon;
  • Thunder, Fastway, Carter USM and Ozzy Osbourne at Folkestone Leas Cliffe Hall;
  • Whitesnake, Kaiser Chiefs and Terence Trent Darby at Brighton Centre;
  • Terrorvision at The Concorde in Brighton;
  • Kingmaker at The Richmond in Brighton
  • The Darkness and Eurythmics at Wembley Arena;
  • David Bowie (Glass Spider Tour) and Michael Jackson (Bad Tour) at Wembley Arena
  • The Fall at The De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill
  • Several Miles Hunt gigs at The Half Moon in Putney
  • Miles Hunt at the Forum in Tunbridge Wells
  • A secret gig by The Wonder Stuff at the Marquee, and
  • The Finn Brothers at the Royal Albert Hall.
There are almost certainly others.  We may well come back to some of those listed above at a later date.  For now though, I’ll be concentrating on the tickets I do have.  There are few things as tedious as someone showing you their holiday photos or the visa stamps in their passport so I’ll try to make this interesting by giving some context for the gig as well as my personal recollections of the event, but I can’t promise anything.  So, let’s start where the collection started…