Whitesnake live in Birmingham

Whitesnake at Utilita Arena Arena Birmingham 22.5.2022 + Foreigner + Europe supporting

I couldn’t miss this opportunity to see a rock band, I mean a good ole hairy, heavy, rock band, from the 70s and 80s – the last opportunity, as this appears to be the last blast for David Coverdale (now 70) as frontman and last remaining original in Whitesnake. Gig buddy Dave (DPi) came up with the tickets – Foreigner and Europe supporting… go on, it had to be done.

I associate Whitesnake most with going round my school mate Rich’s house (RTh) in Ashford (Middx) at the end of the 70s. School holiday rainy days immersed in heavy metal, rock, soft rock, prog rock – lots of Genesis – endless Genesis 🙄. I guess it gets engrained in you. Up that end of my music awareness I always leaned, if pressed to, towards the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) with Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Rainbow and Motorhead, the latter almost meeting punk at ‘the bridge’ and very much part of the punk ‘family’. But Whitesnake were that hairy rock, eminating from Deep Purple as David Coverdale did.

Come to think of it I came under a heavy onslaught of Ian Gillan at my mate Rich’s house. I don’t remember Deep Purple featuring though – maybe that was too historic for me to face up to (I was 1977+ with no rear view mirrors). In later life I find I’m embracing it though. I even turned up outside at a Deep Purple concert at Bournemouth BIC about 15 years ago to try and get a ticket – their last tour they said – but alas no one selling outside the sell-out gig.

So here I am (not again on my own) in Brum. Ready to rock, with a couple of other softer rockers (so I thought) of that era supporting.

View from outside the Arena

Utilita Arena Birmingham

We’re at the indoor arena in the middle of Birmingham, by the canal junction, north of Broad Street party town and just up the towpath from the ‘Black Sabbath Bridge’.

Black Sabbath Bridge

They keep changing the sponsored name of this place (what was the National Indoor Arena) and ‘The NEC’ (that’s the one out near the airport and currently known as Resorts World Arena, Birmingham). Easy to confuse and unsettle as you double check en route.

The 10,000 plus audience (only the back curve of the arena is blacked off with cloth) is using a standing floor area with the usual seating on the banking. The audience looks heavy rock with jeans, hair, leather jackets, sleeveless jeans jackets and appropriate t-shirts. I did see a Crass one though. Heavy rock bands do attract a loyal following and these ones live up too my stereotypical  expectations.

Europe

Europe are on first. I thought they might be softer rock than this but no, good ole solid rock. Lead singer is a big mic swinger – the stand and all being thrown all over the place. He’s been doing that a while. I’m pretty sure it’s still the original singer Joey Tempest looking at photos – Swedish.

Joey Tempest – Europe


Rock the Night and Carrie were the hits I knew, with a bit of a Spotify refresher in the weeks earlier. I enjoyed the set overall and there was no doubting the big one awaited: The Final Countdown. It’s huge. Everyone’s heard of it surely and what a big song to hear live in a 10,000 crowd. I recorded the moment and saved it on my YouTube channel: The Final Countdown.

Foreigner

Foreigner- second support band

Looking up Foreigner, the lead singer is not the original guy, indeed I’m not sure if any of the band are original members, not that this bothers me as don’t know any of them either – they rock on and everyone’s happy. The first song I can name is Cold As Ice – third song, again I captured this for YouTube . This is early but on they go. They do like a drum solo… and a keyboard solo and there are a few of these; maybe a bit over-prominent in a short support set.

Foreigner – Utilita Arena Birmingham

When Dirty White Boy is introduced I’m thinking this sounds like classic, deep in heavy rock territory. I haven’t delved into the lyrics. Before the last song of the main set, Juke Box Hero, we get a mammoth keyboard and drum solo – they are both on a raised rear stage area.

“You want some more: you gotta make some more noise” is the rockers’ call at the end of that part of the set. Crowd obliges and there are three more songs, one of which is the soft rock monster hit I Want to Know What Love Is (link to my YouTube mobile recording); a chance for a hearty chorus singalong, with phone waving. Again, great to hear such a big song belted out live in a big arena like this.

Kelly Hansen – Foreigner in Birmingham, supporting Whitesnake

Time for an interval…the toilet queue, a beer. This is going well.

Whitesnake

Utilita Arena Birmingham

I’ve been giving the remastered 1987 self-titled Whitesnake album a fair bit of attention in the ‘revision period’ for this, my heavy rock ‘exam’. The setlist tonight has a few rock love songs from this album – a good heavy listen – including Is This Love, Give Me All Your Love but  the rock love song that stuck in my mind most from the early 80s was Fool For Your Loving which comes mid-way through the set. I’m not sure if Slide it In qualifies for this rock love song category.

David Coverdale – the Whitesnake original

Coverdale’s voice sounds good considering his age (70) and he is taking steps to save it, with plenty of strong backing vocals coming through from others in the band. Also the set isn’t that long, around 80 minutes, so he’s giving himself a chance on this big tour.

Whitesnake 2022

The rest of the band are presumably selected from the best to join Coverdale in a band with a reputation like this. The guitarists throw in a few solos, big one after Fool for Your Loving, along with a keyboard tinkle, and all seems technically top drawer (I’m not a musician but its impressive) with some subtley choereographed stage wandering – handy for even my distant camera.

One hell of a drum solo – Tommy Aldridge

Drummer Tommy Aldridge produced an eyewatering drum solo at one point, there’s a clip here of him in London on this tour. As the solo reached its apparent final blows tonight, he chucks the sticks and continues the mayhem with his fists on the skins. Exhausting. I can’t remember seeing any drum solo as good as that – OK I’m not exposed to them generally.

Coverdale – Arena Birmingham

There’s a short extension at front of the stage where Coverdale can get right out into the crowd – he is a real out-frontman. Here I Go Again (….on my own) is the best song of the night, that’s the one in my head on the train south the next morning. After that, one more (1987 single Still of the Night) it’s the last song and it’s a Deep Purple one, Burn, to end. That’s it. No  encores – perhaps the only rock cliché that’s missing.

Whitesnake – The Farewell Tour – we’ll see these four again somewhere though

Well I enjoyed that, another rock’n’roll night to savour: seeing a heavy rock legend like David Coverdale front the latest and last Whitesnake. A couple of other rock legends thrown in supporting. Maybe it’s time I sought out some other heavy rock and metal legends (or tributes) …don’t tell my old mate Rich🤫

Whitesnake – goodnight Birmingham

My Chemical Romance play the Eden Project

My Chemical Romance at the Eden Project, St Austell, Cornwall 16.5.2022 with Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls supporting

The Eden Project stage amid the biodomes

This a novelty…. and what a place for My Chemical Romance to embark on a UK tour from, their first appearance in the UK since 2011.

The dome-shaped stage nestles between two treble biodomes, surrounded by greenery and rocky edges: it was a massive quarry once. The all-standing area, holding around 6,500 people, sweeps back and up in a crafted bowl. To the right-hand side is a ‘calm’ viewing area with loads of space amongst blossoming trees: the antithesis of a mosh pit, with a decent view. Our vantage point is up on the rear platform, stood behind the mixing desk below (here with gig buddy Dave). There is freedom to wander it seems, although on a photo taking amble I was asked to put my larger camera away as it was too big for non-media pass holders. I declared it on the entry search but hey-ho I do what I’m told – I still have my pocket zoom which is ‘allowed’.

It really is a lovely place to see a band, providing it’s not raining or blowing a gale I guess. The civilised end of rock’n’roll.

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls

Punky-folk Frank is perhaps an unusual choice to warm up for My Chemical Romance (MCR) but he does it, and more. The front is bouncing with the  opener Four Simple Words.

Wessex boy – Frank Turner
Frank getting the Eden Project crowd going

Frank Turner is a great at crowd interaction – this is his 2,622nd go at it. Frank keeps a close eye on how many gigs he’s played, as evidenced in his autobiography in which he traces his history from Eton school days (!) through his hard-core punk band years, drug-fuelled waywardness and on to playing at the GB Olympic opening ceremony.

Frank Turner supporting admirably

Plain Sailing Weather is another appealing one mid-set – ‘I could f*ck up anything’ – as his 45-minute set races by. This is the sixth time I’ve seen him, not always with a band or the Sleeping Souls; all since Reading Festival 2012, and it’s always a good time. He’s boisterous and would never let an audience just watch; they have to take part.

I’ve acquired a fair range of his CDs and if I had to recommend one it would be Tape Deck Heart, but maybe Songbook is a good bet as it has new songs as well as his pick of the best of his first ten albums…yes 10.

Frank Turner

They finish upbeat with Recovery and the heavy acoustic strum of I Still Believe. A good start to the evening. A really lively, engaging, compact set. It’s still light but with a heavy cloud  blanket overhead so the lights start to show, from the stage and in the biodomes.

My Chemical Romance (MCR)

The stage is ready. The final roadie gestures to the mixing and lighting desk are over… then a loud distressing buzzing and clicking starts… it gets louder… are they coming on? This is exciting stuff: when a band of this influence, on fans if not the music industry, return after 11 years. But what’s this noise…. aha, The Swarm logo on some of the merch stand stuff (including the £100 coat). A bee related new album coming out?

It gets louder and on they come. It stops. They start.

Welcome back My Chemical Romance

They open with Foundations of Decay, a new song and single that hasn’t been played live before. The packed front section is a little static – the new song stops everyone going nuts, which was what it was building to.

MCR front man, Gerard Way – Eden Sessions

The second song Helena is from their 2004 album, detail I have to check out later on the setlist. I can’t claim any early MCR credibility. It was the 2006 album The Black Parade that I came in on.

My Chemical Romance – among the big greenhouses

I went over to Belfast to see them at Kings’ Hall in November 2007 on that tour (with previous partner Ellen, and fuelled by her enthusiasm for Gerard Way). They were just on the crest of everything – massive. I looked for some old YouTube clips but they’re all dreadful. You can just about get the mayhem and excitement from them in the blur of bright flashing lights. It was billed as the tour to put The Black Parade album to bed.

It’s a brilliant album that focuses on death – goth, emo, pop, post-punk rock…everything rock genius. The Welcome to the Black Parade track is the predictable highlight for me tonight – I’m so glad they played it (Phone clip on my YouTube channel). Teenagers, Mama and Sleep from that album also feature tonight to keep some familiarity for me.

(They don’t play it tonight but if you don’t know The Black Parade album and you want to take yourself to a euphoric low, play Cancer… “Baby I’m just soggy from the chemo, But counting down the days to go.” Just how Emo is that one.)

MCR just aren’t predictable and the pace of the songs varies hugely through this set and with some really rock/ metal guitars at times. On their return, the old eyelinered image, spikey dyed black hair and punk goth uniforms are gone.

Gerard Way – MCR – Eden Sessions

Gerard Way now has a calmer less wild-eyed look, with artistic beard and almost a prog rock haircut, but a few songs in and he’s sweated up looking more like the New Jersey rocker he is; stooped over his synth pad and scrabbling around on the stage to find his hair brush, commentating on this incidental search.

Gerard Way

Besides, the more relaxed approach to stage image didn’t last long as I read that two days later at Milton Keynes he came on with the dyed black hair and fake blood splattered white suit. Still got it Gerard… hopefully less messed up these days. Chemical romances can’t go on for ever eh.

MCR – Eden Sessions, Cornwall


The band, including brother Mikey Way on bass, look excited to be back and romp around the trashed city, war zone-like set. I guess we have a less hard core MCR crowd in – the Eden Sessions aren’t a handy choice more most. Hence the audience has its quieter moments, especially with the new or novel choice. It’s a set full of variety. The steam rises from the front crowd as the set draws to a close.

MCR – Eden Project



The first encore: Boy Division (2004, but first time played live apparently) followed by the familiar I’m Not Okay. Last song is from the 2010 Danger Days album: The Kids from Yesterday. The kids are back. Enjoy the ride as they rip through Europe like they’ve never been away. Some bands just bleed excitement more than others.

I’m Not OK ( YouTube link from tonight – not mine.)

Gerard Way in the garden of Eden


I love it when you see a band and the first thing you think is that you want to see them again.

Amid the flashing domes – MCR

Gary Numan live in Plymouth

Gary Numan at Plymouth Pavilions 6.5.2022 + Divine Shade supporting

Only my second ever visit to Plymouth Pavilions, last one being Morrissey. Quite a big venue holding up to 4,000 or 2,500 all seated. It’s a hybrid tonight with front standing section and seats sloping down from where the balcony usually starts.

We are here a few rows up from the front of the seated section which give a great view across the standing crowd at the front to the stage – a wander in the standing area seems to be allowed, well no one stopped me. It’s quite busy tonight but there’s room. Bars not too busy – bottles of Tribute available – sound. (Here with gig buddy Dave – DPi and our wives and met up with Glasto Nige, currently masquerading as ‘Plymo’ Nige for a bit.)

The standing bit of the crowd awaits Numan

We are in for the support band Divine Shade: hard to see in the backlit gloom but not hard to hear. A very full-on heavy synth sound – shades of heaviest Killing Joke at times but the repetitive heavy beat overwhelms the rest of the sound. I try and avoid letting a support band wreck my ears before the main band is on and my ear pieces are in early. This heavy trio from France are giving it a right old thrash. I can see how they’ve got on the Numan tour, with the heavy synth sound – they get a good reception but they wore me down.

I’ve seen Numan several times, all this century, the last time and earlier experiences documented here at my last Numan gig in October 2019.

The new album Intruder is up to the standard set by the last one Savage and it’s the title track of Intruder that is the opener tonight…then straight in to I Die You Die to get all the crowd going. Love it.

Gary Numan in Plymouth

The sets Gary Numan is playing on this tour vary a little but all have a clear contribution from the new album (4/5 songs) and other tracks are chosen from across a broad selection of his extensive range of work. (Setlist link). It’s My Name is Ruin from the relatively recent Savage (2017) album that I have in my head after the gig. There’s always one song that is suitably contagious to infect the mind above the rest.

I forgot my camera this evening 🙄 so I’m reliant on a few from my phone. I took a phone video of We Are Glass, one of the bigger hits from the old days. That was the end of the main set.

Numan and the lights in Plymouth

The lighting is excellent and complementary not over-blown, although it’s pretty dark. There is so much more weight to a live Numan song these days – the keyboards more industrial than in the electro-pop of the late 70s and early 80s.

Numan and his band certainly put on a performance rather than play the songs. There is almost nothing said throughout the set, just one utterance of thanks near the end which was a bit odd. I don’t recall such silence from his previous gigs. This underlines the performance with its rehearsed dance moves – Numan back arches with one arm held up and the interchanging bassist-guitarist moves. I’ll get you photo next time eh if I don’t leave my camera behind again. 🙄

Numan – Plymouth Pavilions

Here in the Black (from Splinter – 2013) and finally Are Friends Electric are the encores. It’s hard to imagine not hearing that these days, or Down In the Park, which they also played tonight.

Cracking night. Great sound, set and performance. As the venue empties you can see the seating arrangement – a good comprise.

Red Rum Club live in Southampton

Red Rum Club at The Joiners Arms, Southampton 4.5.2022 + El Rey + Ruby J supporting

Wednesday night in The Joiners Arms, Southampton. It’s our third Red Rum Club gig in seven months – drove over with my wife Sally. That illustrates that they’re a newer band I like and previous blogs from The Cavern, Exeter and The Madding Crowd, Bournemouth give some background on the band.

It is surely time for Red Rum Club to step up a bit from the smaller venues – this hat-trick of gigs are in the smallest of places and tonight’s 200 capacity is a sell-out. It’s packed and roasting and we haven’t started yet. (More details on The Joiners venue at the end of my last Spear of Destiny blog .)

We go down the left hand side at the front – I like that view and it’s a few steps back out of any jostling – getting in and out via the toilet corridor is easier than a scrummage through the whole crowd that funnels back to the bar via a narrow section where the small mixing desk is.

Also the idea is I take some photos but yet again the minimal (but appropriate and in keeping) lighting and highly mobile band mean decent Red Rum Club shots remain elusive after three trips – I forgot my trusty pocket zoom last time I saw them.

This was another fine performance, with that fabulous trumpet as the defining ingredient to their Mexican/Wild West sound and danceable tunes and lyrics to sing along to – or mumble and mouth to in my case, mostly.

They play Kids Addicted early, one of their best and so the place is bathed in sweat – I hope Covid isn’t in tonight. Sufficiently warm for some of the band to look distressed later on and bottles of water are shared with the crowd – a mix of ages but largely 20s, likely students, and a noticeable number of women. I so often end up in gigs full of old blokes eh.

Red Rum Club – Joiners

Lead singer Francis Doran gets around the small Joiners stage a lot – rarely still and full of dancing – checking up on his five band mates and keeping an eye on the trumpet for cues. Lots of hand gestures to illustrate lyrics – especially on Love Me Like You Want To Be Loved. I’ll have to work on that one.

Francis Doran – Red Rum Club

Eighteen from the latest album has some lyrics to think about (YouTube):

“Do you ever wish you could wake up …18… Would you be happy if you woke up 18?”

Now there’s a question to a 59-year-old.


I grab a phone video of the title track of their latest album How to Steal the World. I don’t like waving my phone about in the air but reckon it’s alright from up against a wall or pillars, or in front of your face, well my face. Same with the camera – which tonight is just about redundant and bathed in condensation too quickly.

Red Rum Club at Joiners


Every gig has a surprise somewhere – so what is it tonight, on a visit to a recent regular haunt to see a band for the third time in quite a short period? It’s Ruby J, the first of two support acts. She is an exceptional talent. A Winehouse style voice and a range of musical styles that she tries out on us – just her and her guitar. Any irritations met with a smile and swearing – any lack of overt enthusiasm with a confident, or is it nervous, shrug and another smile. “Do you like Blues?”…..”oh… well I’m playing this anyway.”

Ruby J



She has some tracks on Spotify and here’s one on YouTube, Game of FIFA. There’s a Black Keys cover and she played her new single Try – released Friday 13 May (Played live in Hanley, several months back)

She has played with Red Rum Club before but I haven’t looked up much about her. Surely one for the up-and-coming pile….surely. Ruby J.

Ruby J at Joiners

UK Subs at The 100 Club + The Mistakes

UK Subs with The Mistakes supporting 30.4.2022 The 100 Club, Oxford Street, London

It’s only seven days ago since I saw The UK Subs in Glasgow at Scotland Calling, but I was up in town anyway. The added interest comes from The Mistakes, from Poole where I live – I did see them support the UK Subs in the unlikely surroundings of The Allendale Centre, Wimborne in April 2019. Bought their quite recent album (CD) A Head Full of Damage (2021) and here I am walking down into the historic subterranean venue that is The 100 Club on London’s Oxford Street to see them.

I was here a few weeks ago for Luke Haines and Peter Buck but this is only my eighth visit and all have been since 1999, so no I wasn’t here back when I was a suburban London youth. (More about the venue and previous visits here in my Spizz blog from 2019.)

As for The UK Subs, I didn’t see them until 2011, at Champions in Bournemouth, twice more in Dorset and last week in Glasgow. Despite buying my first UK Subs record – Stranglehold – about half an hour after I heard it on the radio on a Saturday morning in 1979 (Sunbury Record Scene), I waited 42 years to see them live….and now I’m catching up and frontman Charlie Harper is 77. Where did that time go?

I’m here with gig buddy Dave and we are in just in time for The Mistakes, after a pint in The Champion, our new favoured pub in the area, a few blocks away, to the north of Oxford Street.

The Mistakes – The 100 Club

This five piece Poole punk band have three albums that they’ve put out under their own steam in 2018, 2019 and 2021. The Mistakes describe themselves as ‘balls to the wall’ punk. It’s fast and furious with the pace slowing a bit when the ska influence comes in.

The Mistakes

The sound is really good in here tonight. We pitch up front left. People are still coming in at 8.15pm when they start so plenty of room at the front at this point.

First few songs are the first two from the latest album which gives me a familiar start. Fourth song in is Kev, introduced as being about their number one fan ‘who’s just had a great day out at Millwall’ and is dancing at the front in a UK Subs t-shirt. My brain starts whirring and I remember bumping into this Millwall fan in the Nelson pub on Poole Quay a few years ago while a big FA Cup tie was on. It’s him, confirmed by scrolling through old phone pics to find a selfie with Kev and his Millwall flag after I told him I was a West Ham fan, after he’d given me a one fingered gesture, smiling.

The Mistakes’ set list

The Mistakes are buzzing – enjoying the venue – what an iconic place to play. They go down well as the place fills.

I pop to the bar – decent selection and price given we are in Oxford Street – and fight my way back to my place. It is now packed as the UK Subs come on. Packed with blokes of an age mainly. The decorated leather jackets are out and band t-shirts galore. The UK Subs at The 100 Club is a punk pilgrimage.

UK Subs are on

The mosh gets going and there are some youngsters in there as well who can’t be older than 20. After one song a young bloke with a mohawk haircut and an Anti-Nowhere League emblazoned leather jacket leaps on the low stage for a selfie with his arm round frontman Charlie Harper. What’s the reaction?….smiles for the photo “10 out of 10 for f*cking front” and the lad jumps down. Charlie’s beaming. He loves it and remarks on how good it is to see new generations appreciating the music. Youth in general gets a clap.

Charlie Harper, UK Subs – 100 Club

Great sound with a set laced with UK Subs gems Barbie’s Dead, Stranglehold, Tomorrow‘s Girls … and Warhead is the old Subs song of the moment sadly…. we rock on while we can eh. (YouTube Top of the Pops version)

“There’s a burning sun
And it sets in the western world
But it rises in the east
And pretty soon
It’s gonna burn your temples down

Warhead, warhead, warhead
Warhead, warhead, warhead”

The UK Subs keep the old punk flag flying once again. But tonight it was great to see The Mistakes coming up here to the legendary 100 Club and bringing their newer sounds… and Kev.

Another gig over – The 100 Club clears

(On YouTube you will find a recording of the whole gig posted by YeAuldMetaller. 36m30s in for a rousing rendition of Warhead✊. 30m20s for the young punk grabbing a Charlie selfie 😁)

Scotland Calling: punk day in Glasgow

Skids, Cockney Rejects, Rezillos, UK Subs and more 23.4.2022 at O2 Academy Glasgow

A trip to see The Skids in Scotland with some extras. The one-day punk-fest that is Scotland Calling has a hint of Scotland about it – maybe some of the bands on earlier are Scottish but otherwise it’s left to The Skids and The Rezillos to fly the flag.

Our punk last of the summer wine trio (me, Dave and Big Gra) amble across the suspension bridge over to the south of the  Clyde and head on south down Gorbals Street passed…. well, nothing. It’s a wasteland of derelict and near derelict buildings, rubbish and a few gangs of kids hanging about. At least it’s sunny…and not dark! This can’t be right. We are heading for the O2 Academy Glasgow, which isn’t the O2 in Glasgow I’d seen on a previous trip – the O2 ABC Glasgow, on the much more inviting and central Sauchiehall Street. A group of aging punks head passed us back into the city centre giving reassuring advice that we can’t miss it and it isn’t far. Oh well at least we must look the part even to these ‘hard cores’.

After we locate the huge old cinema, we also head back into town as there really is nothing here except a closed pub just over the road, The Laurieston. I’ve seen the posters and I can’t believe all these bands play here. Do people come in armoured cars or with police escorts? It turns out later to just be safety in numbers and the walk back across to the City Centre isn’t far (I wouldn’t fancy the suspension bridge late at night.)

O2 Academy ‘Gorbals’

We return back across the river a few hours later. The all-day gig starts at noon but thoughts of £6 lager make the previously absolutely dismissive looking Laurieston pub suddenly hold some appeal. I brace myself and dive in… the bar appears to be largely full of Cockney Rejects fans and we opt for the spacious lounge. It’s a classic retro 60s feel, remembering that in the 60s in this area a southern stranger would have been terrified. Lager, strong lager and even stronger lager: they have the lot. I have a Guinness brought through from the bar..  cash only. It is a historic friendly oasis in a desert.

We stay in here and let most of the early bands that we haven’t heard of pass and head over to the O2 Academy in time to watch Gimp Fist. We hadn’t heard of them but the name alone deserved a look.

Gimp Fist

A three-piece easy listen punk band that started us off well.

We had pitched up at the front of the balcony to start with in unreserved seating. Standing room downstairs with various tiers and stairways giving a good variety of vantage points – I had a wander around and checked out the numerous merch stands, smaller bands upstairs. The upstairs area has some seating and tv screens show the stage. There’s a bar up there as well as the ones on the ground floor. (Actually there are some special offers so you can get a pint for £3.50.)

Standing downstairs, seated balcony

The capacity with downstairs standing is 2550 making it 200 more than O2 Kentish Town and I’m yet to go to a bigger O2 Academy. Today not many in the balcony but for what could be an 11 hour stint it makes a good hideaway with a great view. There are little standing side balconies. Each holds up to ten people and give a great vantage point over the downstairs and the deep stage. 

Animal of The Anti-Nowhere League

The Anti-Nowhere League are first of the better known bands with their fast and rasping more rocky punk anthems, including their Streets of London cover and single So What. Yup, enjoyed that and on to the UK Subs, still upstairs wandering.

UK Subs – Charlie Harper – O2 Glasgow – Scotland Calling

Charlie Harper is 78 this year and he’s still at it. Amazing. It’s been hard to keep pace with their material over the years but the set has enough well-known ones to keep us happy, including Stranglehold, Party In Paris, Emotional Blackmail and Warhead (which we ended up singing later that night on the walk back to reality).

It’s 6pm by now: a bit of a lull in the drinking. The advertised food arrived in the form of white baps with ham or cheese. These ran out just as Steve Ignorant (Crass) was about to start. Feeding of the 5000 was their big album but the feeding of the, what, 1750 was now the need. Well, I’d eaten my two baps and perched in the front row of the balcony, unfamiliar with all but Crass’s album covers, I managed to nod off mid-set. This must be a first. It’s been a been a tiring week….but in a set of Crass songs? They’re not exactly lullabies.

Time to liven up with The Rezillos and I go downstairs to see them. I never saw them back in the day but after they supported The Stranglers in 2015, I saw them several times. Always lively, a bit crazy and some good sax. I like that 50s sci-fi and cartoon imagery stuff – Flying Saucer Attack, Destination Venus – they revel in. I’m wearing my luminous Rezillos t-shirt today but the lighting isn’t exploiting its full ‘glow in the dark luminous capability’ fully.

Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds – The Rezillos at Scotland Calling
The Rezillos

Plenty of room at the front for this early evening session. It’s loud and the sound a bit chaotic for this band. The sax is ripping and my ear protectors are in – I’m using two varieties at the moment, both very good – sound still good but tempered. The thing is not leaving it until the sound screws your hearing up before putting them in, tempting though it is.

Eugene – Rezillos – Scotland Calling

Top of the Pops is unmissable of course as their hit single. The 50-minute set maybe a bit rushed with no time to chat but I’m still up for seeing them again. I retreat upstairs as the travelling Cockney Rejects fans move down the front from the bars, or maybe they’ve been back over the road at the pub.

The Cockney Rejects are listed like a joint headliner in the ads for today and they’ve certainly brought a lot of fans in. It is an onslaught – Oi Oi Oi – what a handful. I’ve got a couple of singles by them, almost inevitably as a West Ham fan, and live they are quite mesmerising. You can’t take your eyes off them in case something happens. Jeff, no longer known as Stinky, Turner (aka Geggus) spends to whole set in his Lonsdale gear shadowboxing his way through the songs. Full on. Brother Mick Geggus maintains some stability on bass.

Jeff Turner, Cockney Rejects fighting himself – O2
Mick Geggus – Cockney Rejects – Scotland Calling

Coming up to Glasgow and playing We are the Firm and their version of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles must, over the years, have led to its moments but it’s all good spirits these days…. whether that’s always the case I don’t know. (I capture one on my Bubbles YouTube clip).

Amid the mayhem Jeff thanks everyone for their support and announces that 2023 will be the last Cockney Rejects tour.

Last on, after a long week of gigs for me, and a long day, are The Skids. This was the main attraction for us and we are all downstairs in the space vacated by the travelling Rejects fans.

The Skids headline Scotland Calling

The Skids continue their fusion with Big Country band members and after Bill Simpson’s departure as bassist it’s only Richard Jobson who is an original Skid. Father and son Watsons, Bruce and Jamie, are long-time recreators of the ‘Adamson guitar sound’ for both bands.

Bruce Watson – guitar – Skids at Scotland Calling
Jamie Watson – guitar – Skids at Scotland Calling – spot the UK Subs

As headliners tonight The Skids still only get 55 minutes so while the set is packed with the usual favourites – Into the Valley; Animation; Circus Games; Charade; The Saints are Coming; Charles – not so much time for Jobson chat and he usually gives some contexts to most songs.

Richard Jobson – Skids at London Calling

Jobson’s still dancing – I wonder how much longer the Skids have got on the road. They’ve been very active, pandemic aside, since their regrouping in 2016 and the 2018 worthwhile new album Burning Cities. I’ve seen them a fair few times since with the best being the Islington O2 last year, although the pilgrimage to their hometown Dunfermline was a great-all round experience.

O2 Glasgow for Scotland Calling

There’s a cover to finish – it’s a corker – The Clash’s Complete Control, which appears on their 2021 covers album, Songs from a Haunted Ballroom.

Jobson

It’s been a busy gigging Easter and a long day to finish. Hugely enjoyable and as we are freed to flow out and walk back along Gorbals Street and across the Clyde to the city centre, I appreciate seeing this sort of line up give this sort of energy isn’t something that can last forever – but in Scotland for tonight at least, “punk’s not dead!”

My Rock’n’Roll Easter 2022

My Easter this year consisted of an ambitious tour embracing eight gigs in ten days, travelling to three countries and four cities using trains, planes and automobiles and walking a lot. This was a whistle stop tour and the blog this time is very much that… a photo assisted shoot through an amazing and exhausting week, and I was only watching.

Thursday 14 April: Simple Minds at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Maundy Thursday and the Easter traffic was building as I drove into Wales and through the tunnels, slowly, near Newport and all in time to see Simple Minds at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena. A really good night with great seats (cheers  Dave) smack in the front of this seated hall.

Jim Kerr – Simple Minds – Cardiff

Jim Kerr was on top dancing and pointing form. Great band with new additions on drums and backing vocals from Brian Ferry’s touring band and Berenice Scott from Heaven 17 on keyboards.

Jim with Berenice Scott on keyboards behind

Charlie Burchill, the other original and key to the song writing, wandered the stage smiling while Jim’s-nastics continued. Two sets with a rest in between. Fantastic to hear I Travel again live – throbbing synth opening. First time I heard that live was in 1980 at Hammersmith Palais when they supported The Skids.

Charlie Burchill – Simple Minds – Cardiff

One of the Easter highlights this one and looking forward already to the hinted at New Gold Dream tour next. On Good Friday it was back home and off to Southampton to see the band I first saw supporting Simple Minds in the early 80s at Birmingham Odeon.

Friday 15 April: China Crisis at The 1865, Southampton

Eddie Lundon and Gary Daly

The heart, and humour, of China Crisis is still there with Gary Daly (vocals, stories and an occasional melodica) and Eddie Lundon (guitar and vocals) who are joined by keyboards and sax.

China Crisis – The 1865, Southampton

The set is in two halves with the one after the break being ‘the ones you’ve heard of’ as Gary Daly put it….and that’s where the place really warms up, starting with African and White. Daly intersperses the classic electro-pop hits with stories and elaborate introductions – he really is a very entertaining raconteur and he appreciated the particularly lively audience on this Bank Holiday Friday night.

Black man Ray; Wishful Thinking; King in a Catholic style and Tragedy and Mystery were the best of set and Christian to round off.

Gary Daly popped out after for a chat and sign some stuff at the merch stand. Surpassed expectations this one.

The grey-haired gig goer, the blonde-haired gig goer and Gary Daly of China Crisis

Sunday 17 April: Sparks at The Roundhouse, London

After a ‘rest day’ in the London suburbs it was up to The Roundhouse for the legendary Sparks brothers, still out on this major European tour in their 70s. I can’t claim to have followed them but one of those ever-present acts from the 70s that just kept going innovatively and never stopping.

Sparks brothers – The Roundhouse

As with the rest of this Easter bonanza I’m with gig buddy Dave (DPi), tonight sat in the centre balcony for a polished and tight electro-pop rock show which was lapped up by the Sparks faithful, who were back out in force.

Russell Mael – Sparks at The Roundhouse
Ron Mael – Sparks

Number One Song in Heaven – of course, This Town Ain’t Big Enough – of course, but that was the popular end for people like me. Edith Piaf was another gem from earlier in the set. Ron even got to do his dance before the end. He still looks just as mysterious and unsettling as he did on Top of the Pops when I was a lad.

Tuesday 19 April: Luke Haines & Peter Buck at the 100 Club, London

After another rest day with my mum in the suburbs it was back into town to The 100 Club to see Auteurs’ main man Luke Haines and REM’s Peter Buck perform work from their recent collaboration Beat Poetry for survivalists. Jack Parsons and Andy Warhol Was Not Kind would be my recommended tracks, both of which they played.

Buck and Haines

It’s quite an intense performance with Luke Haines getting on with it and Peter Buck looking relaxed but bored by the whole thing. We were over by the bassist and drummer and so it was easy to appreciate their input to this quality rock’n’roll sound, with a rough edge befitting of the classic 100 Club surroundings: garage rock.

In common with all the artists this week so far, and tomorrow’s, no support act. This seems to be a way of reducing Covid spread in the tour and has caught on.

Peter Buck
Haines and Buck at The 100 Club

Wednesday 20 April: Suzi Quatro at the Royal Albert Hall, London

We moved south to Kensington and after a very worthwhile Albert Hall official tour, Queens Arms lunch session and a self-guided amble through Kensington, its blue plaques and a few Freddie Mercury houses, we met up for a few beers in The Goat with another old mate Dave (DSy). Not too many beer options near the Albert Hall but The Goat is another one to add the often rammed Queens. (Stein’s Berlin’s outside terrace and the Kensington Gore Hotel’s Bar 190 are very upmarket quieter alternatives.)

So, Suzi Quatro. What to expect here eh? Look-In magazine pin up and leather suited 70s rock’n’roll woman….from the 70s and in her 70s….and she just rocks. No messing. No funny face work – grey highlights – and a good ole rock’n’roller from Detroit. A really good show and friendly feel in the vast space of the Albert Hall. We were in the front left corner, surrounded by excited photographers for the first three songs.

Suzi Quatro at The Royal Albert Hall

48 Crash was the first big hit to be rolled out, followed by a great version of Neil Young’s Keep on Rocking in the Free World which underlined my sentiments behind this Easter trail of self-indulgence while war raged to the east.

Special guest Andy Scott from Sweet came on a guest guitarist and on drums was Don Powell from Slade. A trio of 70s legends.

Don Powell (Slade), Andy Scott (Sweet), Suzi Quatro

Suzi returned in the full leather suit for part two, which included Devilgate Drive and Can the Can (My YouTube clip). I can’t quite believe I have seen these performed live after all this time…a bucket list item I guess… the songs and the Suzi in her leather suit thing. I think I was affected by Look-In magazine as a youngster and the leather suit memories don’t leave you easily without counselling I guess.

Leather clad Suzi

Thursday 21 April: The Mission at O2 Academy Bristol

After a long day travelling – train to the suburbs and a drive via Gatwick, Basingstoke and on to Bristol – it was time for The Mission.

This was as tired as I got all week. I arrived at the Premier Inn, Bristol at 7pm and 15 mins later met gig buddy Dave downstairs, with energy levels boosted by a whole Aero Easter egg one of my sisters had given me.

A support band at last: The Rose of Avalanche. A very Sisters of Mercy/ Mission vibe but up the pub rock end. Decent start to the evening.

The Mission, balcony view, O2 Academy Bristol
Wayne Hussey – The Mission

The two-hour performance included a very long version of Tower of Strength at the end of a series of encores. Not an entirely gothed up audience but a hard core of disciples in the middle and at the front, including some watching from on top of shoulders.

O2 Academy acrobatics

Wayne Hussey was completely chilled, literally at one point, asking for fans to be switched off above the stage. A fair bit of chat, including the tricky area of local football teams which got some Bristol City supporters going – I think Hussey is a Liverpool fan.

Wasteland was my obvious favourite but Deliverance and Amelia induced my subsequent second-hand album purchase – Carved in Sand.

Wayne Hussey’s bright summery shirt undermined the darkness of his goth rock guitar and distinctive haunting voice.

After a very long day I was anything but a Tower of Strength by the time that one finished off the set. All the better for an alcohol-free day though and ready to fly north to complete the Easter extravaganza.

Friday 22 April: Blondie with Johnny Marr at the OVO Hydro, Glasgow

The main purpose of the Glasgow trip was the Scotland Calling one day festival on the Saturday but to keep us from a heavy day in the pubs of Glasgow, gig buddy Dave had sorted some tickets to see Blondie… with Johnny Marr supporting. We met up with our old mate Big Gra (GGu) on arrival and soon after we were in a pub over from our hotel – The Clutha – the one a helicopter crashed into some years back.

With Dave and Big Gra in The Cutha pub before Blondie

It was after my discussion in a school Chemistry lesson in 1977 with Big Gra that I bought Denis by Blondie, reassured by him as to their punky credentials, me having heard it on the radio (He used to have spikey hair and Doc Martins so I had some respect.) Here we are striding along the Clyde footpath up towards the Glasgow Ovo Hydro arena some 35 years later to a Blondie gig! Who’d have thought eh?

A modern new build in Glasgow’s exhibition centre district, capacity 14,300 – very much Scotland’s answer to Greenwich O2. My first visit.
For some reason our rear balcony seats were swapped on arrival by the box office for much closer seats on the main floor which was a welcome. surprise – a decent view for what was a big gig.

Glasgow’s Ovo Hydro arena
Johnny Marr – supporting Blondie in Glasgow

Johnny Marr – what a fab addition to the tour. He used his time well with some of his new and older solo material (including Easy Money) and some Smiths classics which were absolutely fantastic to hear again in these big crowd surroundings. Panic, This Charming Man and the beautiful There is a Light That Never Goes Out, with crowd in full singalong mode. A couple of Electronic songs were the other treats in this well chosen and overtly crowd pleasing set: Getting Away With It and Get the Message.

Johnny Marr in Glasgow

Best of all How Soon is Now. I can feel the emotion of it just thinking about it. That powerful opening – I just wasn’t ready for that – and in a ‘warm up’ set. I am struggling to think of a better support band set I have ever seen….I mean ever seen.

Debbie Harry appears in Glasgow

The Blondie set was also a very well crafted arrangement, with some unusual encore choices perhaps: No Exit/ Fragments/ One Way or Another/ Tide is High. The hits were out there though and the nostalgia juke box was appreciated. It was as much celebration of their career as a gig. I felt like I was saying goodbye. The band have had to wait for this tour for over two years now. Chris Stein is one of the casualties of this wait and he had to pull out of the tour due to ill health – just Debbie Harry and Chris Stein as remaining originals.

Debbie Harry and Clem Burke

Clem Burke’s influence is immense for a drummer. He is right there in the middle of it all with drum solos growing out in various places. There are some excellent musicians with them but not sure of the need for exquisite guitar solos in a Blondie song – not really the CBGBs rough and ready attitude, and Clem Burke was wearing the t-shirt.

Clem Burke

After a bit of head scratching as to who the mature bloke on bass was, mate Dave rumbles the fact it might be ex-Pistol Glen Matlock. A zoomed photo confirms the spot.

Glen Matlock on bass

Debbie Harry made a fine effort at looking the trendy New Yorker she has been – much trimmed down from when I saw them in Reading in 1998 – but her face was mildly disturbing with that scary distortion aging ‘work done’ can bring. I should remind myself she’s 76 but it’s still the ‘scary’ word I come back to. Maybe because we are all just getting old.

The performance is still there though, voice waivering at times in favourites like Picture This but yes she’s 76, seventy bloody six. God help us….and Union City Blue didn’t lose anything.

A hugely enjoyable evening. Quite reflective and I feel quite old after that.

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So by this stage I had reached the end of this Easter marathon in one piece and there is just one more test – last lap – well a few laps – an all day punk festival Scotland Calling. That’s for another edition.

Killing Joke live in London 1980 to 2022

Killing Joke at Hammersmith Apollo 9.4.2022 with Brix Smith supporting

When I was a kid we groaned a bit when our favourite bands played here at the Hammersmith Odeon, as it was then – it was all seated with the added hassle of trying to get seats together with friends and buying tickets anywhere near the front. Let’s not forget, it involved someone going up to the venue and queuing at the box office or sending a cheque or postal order and a stamped self-addressed envelope… and now we moan about a few quid for a booking fee or a fiddly website booking. Mind you with most gigs we just turned up back then.

Plenty of time on a sunny afternoon to wander down to the lovely, busy, pricey riverside pubs of Hammersmith – The Dove, The Blue Anchor and The Rutland, which we could actually buy a drink at and stand outside. Then it was on to The Swan, back in the middle of the Hammersmith traffic chaos, a regular pre-gig pub when I started going to gigs at the wonderful Hammersmith Palais and the Odeon.

Outside The Rutland near Hammersmith Bridge

The Odeon, now the Eventim Apollo is now one of my favourite venues, with its downstairs seats removable it has a 5000 capacity while still maintaining the ability to see, get served at the ornate art deco bar and get in, out and around the place ok. The markedly sloping floor enables a great view and of course without the seats you can, as we did, just stroll down to wherever you want to be – quite often with older bands you find if you persevere and get through to the front but it’s not as crowded as it appears.

Outside the Apollo – Grey Haired Gig Goer with mates Andy and Dave

On a countback I think this is my ninth Killing Joke gig with four of those being in the early 80s and the first being by chance on 26 October 1980 in front of 80,000 people in Trafalgar Square. That one was a CND rally when I was at school and I went along with a few mates (Paul S and Wayne M). I can’t remember if we knew bands were playing but in any event we didn’t know who. At some point after the anti-bomb speeches a bloke on the tannoy announced “now we’ve got some music for you… please welcome Killing Joke!” Paul was off down the front exclaiming “f*cking hell it’s Killing Joke”. I’d not heard of them but shuffled forward less urgently as Change and Requiem blasted out, among a handful of songs. That was it for me. I bought that single, or double A- side, the following week and I was hooked. This momentous event was captured here.

I found some old film camera photos I took at a Birmingham Tower Ballroom gig in 1983, along with my ticket. I lived in a Killing Joke ‘What’s This For’ t-shirt at that time. I wore it until it shredded through over use.

Old photos – Edgbaston Tower Ballroom 1983

Other early 80s gigs included Leicester University and Birmingham Powerhouse. The last KJ gig I was at was this special one at Subterania.

Tours posters free on the merch stand

We got in to the Apollo a little late, missing both the rush and the first band. Brix Smith and band, once of The Fall, were on next. I just didn’t get them, but then I never got The Fall. We had at least established a good central forward spot for Killing Joke.

Bit of a surprise when they started with their biggest single Love Like Blood. Many KJ fans may view this chart success as something of a low point. So a gentle start but next it was War Dance, an early single which I see as the theme tune of KJ with so many of their songs being like air punching war dances led by that classic Jaz stance.

Jaz Coleman – Killing Joke at Hammersmith

With their first big single Requiem following soon after it’s as if the set is being played in reverse order. The opening synth sound being hammered out at the start of that one is so dramatic still. Back in the 80s Jaz would be behind his synth playing with one hand, the other often aloft grasping, pointing, saluting. Now he’s always out front conducting with an extra touring keyboardist to help. Other than that, it’s the original line up with Geordie Walker (guitar), Youth (bass) and Big Paul Ferguson (drums).

Geordie Walker
Youth – bass guitar – Hammersmith

KJ have around 15 studio albums and I have the first three and one more recent one, Absolute Dissent. This means I’m getting a bit more remote from their music and the mid-set I don’t know so well, much as I enjoyed the whole sound…it’s a big sound….a body shaker. (Setlist)

Geordie

Geordie and Youth look so calm in all the mayhem and don’t say a word. Jaz is the voice, the leader, conducting and communicating.

Jaz in usual boiler suit attire at Hammersmith Apollo

Nearing the end of the main set and a track from the first album which has become a firm favourite: The Wait with it’s simple controlled scream of a chorus. Then the more upbeat racing Psyche, an early single which almost falls over itself trying to get to the ‘Psyche’ bit. The main set ends. A break and a return with four more songs including Change… back where KJ all started for me. Such a raw single.

Jaz Coleman

A great way to spend my 59th birthday. I don’t suppose when I stood as a 17-year-old in Trafalgar Square hearing Killing Joke playing Change for the first time, that I’d be back in London 42 years later still getting a buzz from that same song. Another of life’s anthems for me.

I use my own pics throughout these blogs but to end I’ll make an exception as Dave captured that ‘thank you goodnight’ moment.

Thankyou, goodnight (DPi photo)

Three Rock Legends I Never Thought I’d See….live in a fortnight

Genesis at O2 Arena London 26.3.2022; 10cc at Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre 4.4.2022; Sad Café at Pizza Express live, Holborn 8.4.2022

It’s fair to say my early gig going and record buying didn’t stray far from the punk, new wave, post punk then indie bag…. at all. Anyone carrying a Genesis album around at school would have got a ‘hippy’ comment. My mate Rich (RTh) had an ever-extending Genesis collection that I was subjected to for many an idle school holiday day. 10cc and Sad Café were bands I remember being in the charts and on the radio, and both used to have blurry TV videos…..arty maybe or just old technology.

Forty years later I get to see all three of these rock legends that emerged from the 70s… in a fortnight. One in a 20,000 capacity arena, one in a pizza joint and one in a theatre in Bournemouth. All a bit of a long shot. All very enjoyable events in different ways.

Genesis at the O2 Arena was a huge event – Genesis the final show. I felt a bit of a gate  crasher with all those seasoned fans, the big light show and a sad farewell with the crumpled figure of Phil Collins at the big heart of it all. His voice was still there as he sang from his office chair, his son behind him on the drums, and a wall of sound consisting of various musicians led by Genesis old boys Tony Banks on keyboards and Mike Rutherford on guitar.

Genesis – the final chapter
Phil Collins – Genesis

I can’t pretend to have followed the Genesis fortunes. I suppose the 1978 And Then There Were Three album, with the quite poppy single Follow You Follow Me, is the one I knew most and they played least. A Genesis fan would no doubt roll their eyes. It’s probably the sight of the album cover on regular occasions in my youth that made me feel like the title track of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was central to what the Genesis thing is/ was about. Marvellous. I felt I’d been drawn in… over 40 years…. those hairy friends at school had won. (They’ve never seen the Skids though.)

Genesis – lights – O2 Arena London

So my first Genesis gig was their last – that was the idea anyway.  It felt like the end. Phil Collins said after that it was the end. Collins, Rutherford and Banks were left on the stage like old friends at a wake – a wake enjoyed by 20,000 people. What an event to be at.

And then there were three – Rutherford, Collins and Banks

At the other extreme was the exceptionally friendly and forward-looking feel of Sad Café at Pizza Express Holborn. They are looking to get out on the road again now the plague is subsiding.

Two original members, Ian Wilson (vocals/guitar and original singer songwriter) and Des Tong (bass/ backing vocals) were joined by a very rock’n’roll looking new frontman Barry James Thomas with leather hat, coat and big boots. And there’s a sax player, lead guitarist, drummer and backing singer who fronts up a few songs herself – lovely lady, Sue Quin, an experienced session singer and acting as the band’s hostess as we take our seats for a pre-doughball starter soundcheck.

The seats are right up almost on the stage – the semi-circular front row bar to eat your pizza off is the edge of the stage. I wolfed down my food as I realised if I wasn’t careful, I could be spraying a few 70’s soft rock legends with chilli oil and dropping dough balls on to the guitar effects pedals. There are about 20 other tables all with a great view – maybe Stiff Little Fingers will be down here one day. I’d recommend it.

Sad Café do Pizza Express – Ian Wilson left – my glass front

The set list was no surprise as I could read it while munching my pizza beforehand – they gave out signed copies. Not that I knew more than a few singles anyway, including the biggy Everyday Hurts... I had been playing greatest hits by way of revision. It was a really good set with vocals shared about, some great sax and lead guitar solos. Top musicians who must be doing this one for the love of it: I mean there were seven on stage and a small capacity venue: it’s Pizza Express not Ronnie Scott’s.

Sad Café set list

Being so close and hearing sound through amps, monitors and direct with drums, as well as the sound system really made it special.

The third of these rock legends I encountered, that emerged from the 70s was 10cc in the more conventional setting of Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre with some long-term friends who were better versed than I in another top band.

The original 10cc member at the heart of this current touring incarnation of the band is Graham Gouldman, but Rick Fenn (guitar/vocals) has been with them since 1976. The drummer, keyboardist and younger vocalist on a significant number of songs all added to what was a fabulous collective. On arrival the guitars were lined up across the stage – loads of them – the interchangeable skills of the band were pretty remarkable. Four of them went acapella at one point. Most impressive.

10cc acapella



I was astonished how many 10cc songs I knew – the hits just kept coming: Art for Arts Sake; Life is a Minestrone; Good Morning Judge; Wall Street Shuffle…The Things We Do For Love. All these must have seeped into my consciousness over the decades because I don’t own any of their stuff… a bit of a Spotify refresher maybe in recent weeks.

Graham Gouldman – 10cc
Gouldman – Bournemouth

Some innovative use of film backdrops to cover hits sung by the well-known 10cc escapees Godley & Creme.

I’m Not in Love, Dreadlock Holiday and Rubber Bullets were in the final part of an absorbing set watched by an attentive crowd that looked calmly appreciative and quite studious until the end – by that point the theatre had started to erupt. An old theatre packed with largely 60 & 70 somethings on a Monday night ….it was buzzing.

A Monday night 10cc audience – rock on

So three examples illustrating the enjoyment that can be had by just getting out there to see some live music, especially with some experienced quality musicians. Rock on the grey-haired gig goers eh. Fab.

The Who live at the Albert Hall

The Who at The Royal Albert Hall 26.3.2022 with The Wild Things supporting.

As my gig schedule 2022 gathers pace, fuelled by enthusiasm from my key gig buddy Dave (DPi), I find myself striding along the edge of Hyde Park towards The Royal Albert Hall, passing the lavish apartments overlooking that wonderful piece of London green space, and on passed the Army barracks.

Maybe the ultimate gig venue?

This gig opportunity fell out of another gig cancellation and we were in London anyway. It’s an acoustic Who set put on as part of the week of annual Teenage Cancer Trust concerts, with Roger Daltrey having fronted these events since they began.

I came to see Richard Ashcroft at one of these events in March 2003 and was perched high up above the stage on an upper balcony. Roger Daltrey was one of the special guests who came on for a few numbers with others doing a star turn including Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics and Liam Gallagher – quite a show.

It’s a special place to come and the novelty is still there for me as I wander through the plush bars, gaze up at the ceiling, private boxes and upper tiers surrounding this huge domed space.

Boxes and tiers – Royal Albert Hall
Ceiling acoustic spheres

My first visit was in 1999 up behind the stage in the choir seats for a Jools Holland performance with his orchestra. The other two visits were in the last ten years with the unlikely visit of The Damned for their 40th anniversary gig (top gallery standing) and the Buzzcocks gig, which, due to the sudden and early death of Pete Shelley, became his memorial gig with numerous special guest vocalists – including Richard Jobson who’s Skids played their own full set, with Penetration supporting. Main floor standing tickets for that one and it is seated on that floor tonight.

The support band are The Wild Things – Pete Townshend did some recording with them after he came across them working on The Who stage musical Quadrophenia. They subsequently supported The Who during their Las Vegas residency. Rocky… hints of Pat Benetar but maybe I’m influenced by the Sydney Rae White look.

Sydney Rae White of The Wild Things

It’s great to see the Great British legends that are The Who after all these years. One of those bands that have become part of rock history and with the whole Mod thing their music, especially the hits, get infused into you over the years.

Floor seating at the Albert Hall for The Who acoustic show

There’s a lot of band with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend in this acoustic set up, including Pete’s brother Simon. No room for classic Daltrey mic swinging or Townshend windmill guitar action tonight. What the acoustic set manages to do is make this massive and grand venue feel like a small local gig.

Roger Daltrey

The setlist is drawn from varied sources – let’s face it they have plenty to go on. Great to hear Substitute and The Kids Are Alright early on. Squeezebox gets a double play as did Break the News as they weren’t happy with the versions they delivered: see, like local pub gig…. with 5,000 looking in.

Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend leads the chat and heaps praise on Daltrey for his long-term commitment to the Teenage Cancer Trust and these concerts. A block of Cancer sufferers and recovers who’d benefited from the Trust are introduced up on the rear centre balcony and one brave young woman up there addresses this enormous auditorium.

During one song (Beads on One String) digital Ukrainian flags appear to rousing applause – it’s the first time they’ve played this 2019 release live apparently. Recently they have released a video to accompany the song, in support of the people of Ukraine.

Roger Daltrey

The home straight comes round quite quickly with Pinball Wizard, Who Are You, Baba O’Riley and finally Won’t Get Fooled Again. A crowd-pleasing finish, the floor all standing foe the last few, but no encore games. A unique experience and a privilege to be here.