Friday, 29 March 2013

REM / Blur: The National Bowl, Milton Keynes 29 July 1995

This was REM's 'Monster' tour, which is not one of my favourite albums of theirs but it does include the peerless 'What's the Frequency Kenneth'. That would make it on to any 'best of' compilation I'd ever do. Blur were the special guests and were at the very height of their Britpopularity. The "other groups" were Magnapop and Belly. 

REM were and are one of the GLW's favourite bands so we decide to make the trip to Milton Keynes to see them for the first time. It was a gloriously sunny day, so of course venue security were taking everyone's drinks off them at the door, except for unopened 'tetrapak' type boxes of juice. Inside I seem to remember some bizarre token-exchange system for the beer tent that meant having to queue twice and small cartons of Happy Shopper orange juice costing £1 a time. Result, 60,000 hot, dehydrated, pissed off people. Well done everyone.

Naturally I remember nothing of the first two on the bill. Blur were fantastic, perhaps better even than when we had seen them at Glastonbury the previous year. REM's set was incredibly atmospheric with black and white rear projection and lots of slow tempo numbers. Magnificent, despite the best efforts of the organisers.

I had the genius idea* that we should kip in the car after the show because it would probably take hours to get out of the car park. After about half an hour of that the GLW said, quite rightly, 'this is a stupid idea' and got into the driving seat. We were out of the car park in no time. About half an hour down the road, she got stopped by the police for speeding but managed to flutter her eyelashes sufficiently to get herself out of a ticket.

*stupid idea

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