What can i say except my day started pretty shitty when i awoke to a couple of Whatsapp messages. My mate Rob was meant to be driving today but illness put a stop to that. Then there were msgs from a close friend who seemed in a bad place (to say the least). What to do ? After a few attempts to contact,with no replies, i decided : Priorities. I couldn’t help the friend so i had to look into if it was possible to go Nottingham or not. With it being so last minute, i couldn’t find any hotel which i thought was reasonably priced. (There’s no way i’d use a scummy B&B as it’s too easy to pick up bugs etc…especially with my immune system being rubbish nowadays). I was all set to write it off when Rachel suggested i go see Virginmarys & come back home. I thought the last train would be earlier than it was. Realising it was an early start for the gig (Kick out 10pm so they can have the club night), it was possible to go ! So off i went ! Another train ticket purchased, Nottingham here i come
When i got to the venue, i explained to security that i’d been chatting to someone about getting a bar stool (as sometimes i get tired nowadays) & they agreed to let me in a little early, “Just ask at the bar for a stool”. On the way in, i saw Alixe still setting up merch so quickly grabbed the new yellow t-shirt ! Yay ! Finally i got a VMs T-shirt 😉
Once upstairs, got the bar stool & set up in my usual position centre of balcony. Jobs a good un !
The place didn’t fill up that quickly & i’m sure many people missed the usual killer set from the headliners…erm i mean Virginmarys 😉 They kicked off with ” I Wanna Take You Home “. Always a good one to get you in the mood. Next up it’s ” Halo In Her Silhouette “. The band are on fire,unlike what can be said of the audience. Seems pretty tepid down there & not a single person on the front row seems to be getting into it. Their loss.
Next up it’s an old classic (well, it IS !) “Dead Mans Shoes “. Just flys by.
Ally asks the crowd if anyone has seen the band before…maybe opening for Skunk Anansie here ? Pretty much silence from the crowd except for one lonesome voice. He in turn dedicates next song to her…
It’s quite fun to see Gareth playing invisible drums sat behind Ally 😉
We then get an oldie but goodie ” Running For My Life “. I just love hearing this stuff. I actually find it a little annoying that the guys are really working their assess off up there & the crowd just seems a bit lame We’re then brought up to the latest album “Divides” & the plough through ” Into Dust “. Another 3 or so songs & we’re at the finishing line with ” Just A Ride “. It’s just great & i get the added bonus of a shout out from Ally at the end Nice one mate!
Sometime during the show Ally mentioned there will be more *headline*shows later in the year. Whoo Hoo ! Also mentioned the “food donations” from his recent solo show & probably doing it again later in the year. I don’t want to misquote, but, i’m also pretty sure he said something about they’ll play anywhere “So if you could put us up for the night, that would be cool “. ** Don’t take that as gospel ! ** I had hoped to try verify some of the quotes after the gig, but i ran out of time to be sure of catching my train home.
I did have a good old chat with Alixe though. Very pleased to hear these dates were not a “buy on” as often happens nowadays. Proud they’re doing things their own way as always Must confess, it did seem strange to be leaving Rock City so early, but everything ran smooth & most important thing was i got to see the VMs
5-10-16 (Day before gig)
I put a lot of work into the planning/logistics of this show & the ones which followed. It was to be the first of 3 gigs in 3 days which involved a lot of travelling. As well as the gigs, it would give myself & Tess a few days together… I suggested we meet in London & stay at ” Hotel Rob ” the night before as train tickets would work out much cheaper this way instead of Me : Boston>Bristol OR Tess :Bournemouth> Bristol. After meeting up we were gonna visit Montague Pyke (why change tradition?) but it was rammed. Instead we made our way to Hotel Rob where we were greeted by Miss Grigorova 😉 After a while we left to meet Rob at a bar (surprised?) & then he took us to a place called ” Flat Iron “. All i can say is OMFG those steaks were great ! Will most certainly visit there again soon, thanks Rob ! http://flatironsteak.co.uk/ ( WE went to the Shoreditch place first)
6-10-16 (gig day)
I deliberately booked a train to Bristol for around midday. But when you’re up until 3am gassing & both Rob & Kristina leave early, it makes for a L-O-N-G day…Some of us coped better than others 😉
Once in Bristol i wanted to locate venue before checking into hotel,but, we were both too tired.So finding hotel was first priority. As we’d got VIP meet & greet tix, we also needed to be at venue for 5.30 onward.
That worked very well. All the guys in the band were very talkative & a good laugh. I learnt something from Per which surprised me & yet at the same time it didn’t. He told me that for Download festival they were offered £500. That’s for whole band & crew ! Of course, they said it wasn’t enough to even cover their costs, to which Live Nation replied ” There’s plenty of other bands that will take that slot if you don’t ! ” So they took it. Nowadays, it seems it’s really hard for bands to tour & make any money. They always have to put their own cash into things. The whole industry seems to be so rubbish , especially for “new” bands or ones that are trying to reintroduce themselves after being away (well, unless it’s an old “big” band reforming). It just shows the dedication & passion that acts such as Royal Republic, Virginmarys etc have. I knew Adam was tall, but blimey i look so short next to him !
Dinosaur Pile-up were decent enough,but, i got the impression they so want to be Nirvana 😉 Whatever, the kids loved them…
So to the main course : Royal Republic ! After the intro, what a great, in the face, full on start : “When I See You Dance with Another” straight into “Walk!”. Already the vibe is UP !
I just love the latest album ” Weekend Man “. A strange little secret i have is that i play the first two songs when i have a shower in the morning ! Why? The fast beats make me lather up quickly & i’m soon out of the shower thus saving water (Nothing kinky that i’m sure some of you were thinking !)
Next it’s back to the album “Save The Nation” with an outing of ” Make Love Not War “. We actually get about 4 from that album tonight as next up it’s “Strangers Friends Lovers Strangers”. Then it’s back to basics, or rather, where it all started with the classic ” Underwear ” from the debut album “We Are The Royal”. How many times have myself & friends quoted the line “..I can see your underwear from down here..” lol All done in the best possible taste 😉
Tonight Tess has free reign to take photos all through the show. There’s no photo pit,the punters of first row are against the stage. As the venue is so small, we have the great idea of her leaving her camera bag tied to the balcony railing next to me. This way, she can come back up & take photos from this position also. Yo Tess! When are we gonna see those pics online ? 😉
Adam tried to explain about “Weekend Man” saying that “…The Devil on your shoulder is like a choir boy compared to the Weekend Man..”. Make of that what you will
After that it’s back to the STN album for “Everybody Wants to Be an Astronaut”. I’m really enjoying this set. We’re getting songs from all the albums & they all fit so well together. It’s just a sign of a quality band. The biggest or nicest surprise is the inclusion of a “Nosebreakers” song. For those not aware, about 2 years ago, Royal Republic covered their own songs acoustically on the album ” Royal Republic & The Nosebreakers”. They did even tour it around Europe, but, unfortunately not in the UK It was really cool to hear “Addictive” this way :
We’re then took back to the album ” Weekend Man ” & the brilliant song “Kung Foo Lovin’ “. Oh yes, you need to check out the latest merchandise where they have a “Kung Fu Lovin’ Adam” on the design Bloody love it & had to get one as the old school baseball shirt with this caricature just works so well
The main set is closed out with the killer song from debut album ” Tommy Gun “.
Something i noticed about this place/crowd was that despite there being only a few hundred(?) in the place & it was sold out, the audience was loud. I mean real loud! Already i love this venue. It’s nice n cosy with a cool balcony.
The first song of the encore was ” Here I Come ” (The first song of Weekend Man album…the one i shower too 😉 ) Full on rocking. The atmosphere was then took down a little with the moody ” Follow The Sun “. Of course, there was really only one song to finish the show with & it was the amazing ” Full Steam Spacemachine “. Just love it when Per hits those drums so hard.
Afterwards i decided i’d have to get a t-shirt. Got the Kung-Fu Adam cariacture one. I think it’s brilliant (though mine could be faulty as there are a few “black dots” in the print which are not on the one featured on their merch page ) Still, it’s supporting the band & helping them to carry on touring. Everyone should buy their merchandise as it really makes a difference (especially when they are partly self funding the tour). I wish i could have got to more shows but they clashed. A mate said Nottingham was great also.
Hopefully they won’t be long before their return & the venue sizes will jump up next time. Hope for Rock City next time as they deserve it. Soon afterwards we were back at the hotel hoping to catch up on the sleep. Again, it didn’t quite work out…I was really knackered & Tess was checking through the photos she’d took. Hey ho, got there eventually….& following morning was another early rising before the trip back to London
After the recent disappointment of having to miss Hands Of Grettel in London (Due to the puking from my meds) I was really looking forward to this one. I love a bit of good old ” pop rock ”
My train travel went fine & as i walked past Rescue Rooms it was already quite busy as the band were doing meet n greets later. I was soon checked into my hotel. Just had to stay there a while to get the energy levels back up (Once again, i’d been surprised that walking from train station into town took it out of me so much. I think i still expect too much…)
When i went back to venue, half the queue had gone.(M&Gs). After a while my mate Jason & his missus Kristy arrived. Was good to have a catch up. Once inside the venue, for the first time ever that i’ve known, they had the lighting desk up on the balcony. I asked if i was ok to be where i was & reply was “yeah, but we’ll put out barrier later”. I assumed that meant just around the lighting desk. Later it turned out the were sectioning off & effectively losing half the balcony for punters! They told me to move,but, after explaining i’d been waiting a long time & was under impression i’d be fine, the guy said “Ok stay there,but if security come up, you’re on your own”. So yep, i was now winging it 😉
Gotta admit, i couldn’t get into “Beach Weather” or ” As It is “. I just find these bands a little boring nowadays. One of the kids had nice hair though lol. Seriously, i think i was more on edge about security kicking me out, so couldn’t really take them in (Even if i wanted too)
An intro & then Against The Current were on stage. It kinda threw me the way the stage was kind of empty & the guitarists were behind the speaker cabinets. (After later online investigation, i realised this is because officially there’s 3 members of the band & the others are touring guys) Chrissy seemed pretty impressed that the show had sold out as it was their first time at this venue. She also explained that ” Roo ” (guitar/keys) was from Nottingham, after which the crowd chanted ” One Of us ” 😉
A couple more songs & then Chrissy starts talking about a cover song they did. Of course, everyone twigged on quickly 😉 I must admit, “My Chemical Romance” are one of those bands i just cannot get into. “Hate” is a strong word, but i’m not that far off ! ( Same goes for ” Bullet For My Valentine” lol) But saying that, this song does work :
Next up, it’s possibly my fave ATC song ” Young & Relentless”. Just brilliant pop rock Then to bring things down a bit, we get a couple of acoustic versions of songs ; ” Infinity ” & ” In Our Bones “. I’m pleased that they perform “Brighter” & “Wasteland” in the same order as on the album. They just work so well together.
This was a decent night out. I said my goodbyes to Jase & then wandered off to my hotel.
With Iron Maiden tickets going on sale at 9am the following morning, i decided i’d go queue early. Might as well seeing as i’m here. Didn’t sleep too well & got up early. Was at venue just around 7am…& was the only person there haha. Eventually a few others arrived,but, it was no where as busy as i thought it would be. Got us decent tix.
There’s a bit of a back story to this show, which i feel i should share : As most people who know me will be aware, i’ve personally know GA since the early days, back when i saw their debut UK gig at the Borderline back in 1999 ( http://www.gigaddiction.co.uk/guano-apes-the-borderline-london-23-9-99/ ). After that gig, i “lived the dream” following the band around Europe & at times even travelling with them.
Well, i last saw them in Barcelona in 2014. Many of the old friends who i’d met over the years, also travelled to that show. A great day.
Jump forward to 2016 & the proverbial “shit hit the fan” & for a while i was totally out of action. Radio & chemo therapy does that to you.
With all the messages of support i was recieving, i confess, i was disapointed to not hear anything from my old mates in GA. I tried contacting them in case there had been something i’d done or said to have “upset” them. Eventually, via a mutual contact, i was told there’s nothing wrong, most people are just very busy all the time. Ok, fair enough, at least i’ve not done anything bad.
Imagine my surprise when out of the blue i get an email from my old mate Henning saying : ” I spoke to the band and we thought maybe we could do something good for you by inviting you to the show in Lierop incl. Travel etc. but I’m not sure If you would actually be able to travel? ”
How fooking cool is that ? This was an invite i really had to TRY take up, despite me health being very up & down recently (As close to 3 days before the trip, i had flu type symptoms & it was doubtful if i’d make it or not – hence i didn’t dare “announce” anything on my FB page).
Between myself & Henning, we arranged a schedule that suited me……08.00am return the day after??!! No way ! 😉
Come gig day, my train travel ran smoothly to Stansted airport ( 3 changes & nearly 4 hours travel) & i had plenty of extra time before my flight. Then after a while, i saw this :
Of all the flights listed, mine was the only one delayed Oh well, bang goes the chance of seeing Danko Jones before Guano Apes.
Fortunately, Stansted to Eindhoven is a relatively short flight. Once there, Benoit was awaiting for me. Henning couldn’t have booked a better hotel for me ; directly at the airport ! Once we’d checked in, we were on the road to the festival. (The last message i’d sent to Henning in the morning, was about arranging to park the car in the artiste/guests area. He said to give him a ring when we’re a few minutes from festival)
Once there, Henning greets us & tells security to open gate for the parking. He quickly wanders off to get our passes from Markus.
Man, it was so great to see Henning again ! Once backstage, we gradually see other members of the band. Stude is having some food which made me wanna bork ! (I have problems with certain food smells nowadays ! For example, i used to love KFC & nowadays i cannot eat it due to the smell! One of the side effects of my treatments i guess) Said hello to Markus & then I explain to Dennis whats been going on. Then he gives me the proper backstage tour. ” Where do you want to watch the show from? ” Me : ” I’d prefer to be onstage as i get a bit tired nowadays “. Dennis : ” Oh, do you want a chair as well? ” Me : “Oh man that would be perfect, just in case “. The crew did this for me :
Dennis couldn’t have been more helpful. He then showed me the “route” to get back to the other side of the stage (without walking over the actual stage). I then went out into the crowd to say hello to Pezi. She’s been following the band since 2003 i think. Nice to see her again. Then Benoit turns up & i leave him in the capable hands of Pezi on the front row 😉 ( I think Pezi may have asked me if i was gonna stay, but, it wasn’t advisable for me tbh…& anyway, i already had my own special place 😉 )
As well as bringing my camera, i’d also brought my digital audio recorder as i thought i’d make a not so sneaky recording of the whole show from onstage. As luck would have it, i saw Ingo (FOH engineer) a little before the show started. I thought ” Nothing lost by trying..”. Me : ” Hey Ingo, don’t suppose you could record tonights show to my digital recorder? “. He quickly looked at it & said “Yeah” RESULT ! Later, when i was back on stage, he came by & told me he’d got a new battery as the one i had wasn’t enough power. He’s a good man is Ingo
Originally, i’d planned to take some photos from the pit. But when i was made aware photographers only had one song, i decided to just film a video clip instead 😉
After that, they quickly went into ” You Can’t Stop Me “, whilst i walked around to my position on the stage. Whenever i’ve been up on stages before, the sound is generally not as good as out front. Mainly, you just hear drums then other sounds are very small compared. However, i reckon this was the best onstage sound i’ve heard ! Don’t get me wrong, it still wasn’t perfect. But Studes bass sounded great & i could also hear Hennings guitar & even Sandra sounded ok (Sandras was probably the lowest in the mix). But i loved it
Next up it’s ” Quietly “. An absolute classic from the “modern era” of the Apes. Gotta be honest, i’ve never really liked the song “Fake”. Whilst it *IS* better live than studio, i still don’t find it all that great (sorry)
The next song again is a classic ; “Pretty In Scarlet”. Just love that one I also love the loose funky feel of “Sunday Lover”. If this song performed live does not make you wanna shake your ass or dance, then i’d suggest you check your pulse ! (Sandra got a bit carried away towards the end & fell down during her spins. Though she pulled it off well, so i doubt many would have noticed 😉 )
I couldn’t believe it, but, just before ” Oh What A Night” some dickhead decided he’d try sit down in MY AREA on MY CHAIR !! Honestly, it’s not like it wasn’t marked out or anything! I gave him a bit more of my mind than what i recorded 😉
A young lad, Gijs, got lucky when Sandra spotted him on the front row & she went down to him! I bet all his birthdays & Christmases came at once !
Next up it was the super classic of “Open Your Eyes”. I will never ever get tired of hearing this song. It has the same vitality today as it had back in the day. Love it.
Next it’s “Fanman”. Probably my favourite “modern era” Apes song. I love the bass line in this one. Once again, it’s funky & just grooves. I love the change of pace in this song, how it’s up & down. So pleased they kept this on in the set list
“Sing That Song”, whilst i like it, i can take it or leave it. At this point i’d much sooner hear something like “All I Wanna Do” 😉
The main set finishes with another classic,the Alphaville cover “Big In Japan” Man, did that main set just fly by ! It was all pretty solid stuff for sure.
We then get the encore of the instrumental ” Lez “. I actually couldn’t remember if i’d seen them play this before & had to check when i got home! They did in fact play it in Barcelona last time i saw them ! Doh ! But that’s the thing ; i LOVE it when the guys do these jams as you can tell everyone’s into it ( Though my favourite will always be “Trompeter”,due to the “swing” ;-)) This just rocks.
Then it’s the final song of the night….what else could it be, other than “Lords Of The Boards” ? ! A stompingly good version, then the obligatory group photo was took…erm of only Stude & Sandra 😉
Soon afterwards, i was in the backstage are with a very sweaty Stude ! It was just pouring off him We had some serious talks. He’s not the only band member i really shocked when i explained the extent of my problems. But everyone was very positive (even though shocked) & just told me to fight it all. I do that, to the best of my abilities. As it’s been ages, i decided i needed new photos with the band ! I managed to get a group photo (minus Sandra) with the guys.
Then had individual ones as well.
I asked Markus what was Sandra up to & he said soon she’ll be presented with a painting someone has made for her. (It looked great actually & i wish i’d took a photo). So that would be my chance for the Sandra photo 😉
After Sandra had been presented with the painting, as she was walking in my direction, there seemed to be a moment of realisation for her when she recognized me! ” Simon ! You made it ! ” (I don’t think she recognized me when i was on stage tbh). So it was big hugs & very nice chats. It was the first time i’ve been VERY close to breaking down (OK, there were tears from me. To the guys, i hid it all better i think). During our conversation, i learnt something new, which i hadn’t expected. When GA posted on their FB page about me being a fan from the beginning & they linked to my “Borderline Story” on my www.gigaddiction.co.uk page, i was always under the impression it must have been Henning who’d posted that. Nope ! Sandra brought it up & said she posted it ! That kinda shocked me & made me love her even more! Cheers Sandra
As with most people, Sandra told me i must not give up & should keep fighting this cancerous stuff i’m dealing with. Sometimes, it’s so much easier said than done though. We made a “deal” between us ; i won’t give up if she will do something for me in the future ! I cannot say what though & i very much doubt it will happen (Sandra, if you read this, i won’t hold you to it 😉 )
Eventually it was time to go back to our hotel, so off myself, Benoit & Henning went:-) Once there, Henning sorted out breakfast & we agreed to meet early next morning.
Oh that was hilarious ! The following morning, in the restaurant, the officious bitch said ” I have no information about you being booked in for breakfast!” Well, we had a card entitling us to 2 breakfasts ! So i told her to check out her story as seemed to me someone hadn’t done their job properly 😉 Of course, we were right 😉 Later Henning joined us & he also had a problem with this jobsworth woman : 10mins before breakfast “closed” she said “you need to be making your way out of here”. Again, Henning taking no B.S. said ” I’ll just go round once more ! ” Class 😉
After saying our goodbyes, Benoit & me went to Eindhoven to kill some time (Always remember to use the Sat Nav Beno ! More importantly, if using it, take notice of the directions instead of gassing to me all the time!)But whatever, thank you for doing the driving mate. It was appreciated.
My last thought of the weekend was going through customs at Eindhoven Airport. I couldn’t believe it ; the bastards scanned my bags THREE times & once was with everything tipped out. Eventually, they decided the dodgy item was….my electric toothbrush ! Were they YTS trainees or something? Useless tossers !
So, summing up, this was a magical experience for me all thanks to my old friends in Guano Apes. Without them, i wouldn’t have got to see them live again, i’m sure. You’ll never know how much i appreciated this kind gesture from you all. It’s hard to put into words, but the easiest thing to say is THANK YOU
Journey down to London went fine. Once there, traveled straight to the venue area to check it out. Bumped into Jim & waited for doors to open. Strangely, even at 6pm there was only less than 10 of us there. Met with another mate, who didn’t recognize me to start off due to the fact last time he saw me i had hair !
Once inside, we got a great viewpoint on raised area on right hand side. Quickly said hi to my mate Adrian Hextall & settled in for the night.
Later Rob & Kristina arrived & we’re good to go. Hey Hello kicked off things in fine style, with “Swimwear”, followed by “Burn The Rule Book” & ” This Aint Love “. The new vocalist , Cat, fits in very well. Whilst the majority of the audience isn’t exactly bouncing along to everything, there’s a couple down there who are obviously loving every moment.
Don’t tell anyone, but, i think i enjoyed Hey ! Hello! more than the others today 😉 By the time they got to ” Lock For Rock “, the audience was in fine voice. Bloody loved it. A great 10 (?) song set that just flew by.
Next it was “Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors”. I think anything after “Hey! Hello!” would have felt a bit lackluster & that was my feeling during their set. Decent enough music, but, there seemed to be no edge to it. Don’t get me wrong,it was quality,but after HH anything would seem downbeat. Interestingly, Ryan told us all about how in these days of support bands having to “buy onto” tours, Ginger personally invited them to join. Once again, it shows Gingers heart is in the right place. We even got an impromptu jam of ” Take It On The Run” ( REO Speedwagon) where Ginger guested. Most enjoyable
Finally it was time for the main act. With Ginger having such a big back catalog (from his various incarnations) ,gawd knows what the setlist will be tonight. Straight out of the blocks we’re hit with 3 SG5 songs. Nice start ! The first Wildhearts song of the evening was ” Mazel Tov Cocktail”. This was about 10 songs into the set, so we had a varied bunch of songs before this & it rightly showed they don’t have to rely on the Wildhearts songs to keep everyone entertained. Later when they played ” If You Find Yourself In London Town”, there was the surprise guest appearance of Micko Larkin ( He who used to play in Courtney Loves band). The stage did get a bit busy by now 😉
The show was finished with three classic Wildhearts songs ; ” Geordie In Wonderland ” , ” Suckerpunch ” (preceeded with Ginger saying ” Let’s play Kill The Drummer ” ) & then a totally OTT version of ” 29 x The Pain “.
All in all a very good night out. I’d never been to this venue before & was pretty impressed with the place. Will certainly go there again in the future
Someone uploaded the full set :
My train journey ran smoothly & after i’d checked out what was happening next day (there was gonna be a train strike) i soon checked into my hotel. Then arranged to meet my mate Gebs at a drinking establishment 😉 Had to put it off for a while though as my guts were doing summer-salts. Eventually, we met up in a different pub. I got introduced to a bunch of Gebs mates who are hard core Rush fans. It turned out i’m a bit of a legend among them seeing as i filmed Rush in Sheffield way back in ’92 😉 I’ll take that Had a laugh with a couple of lasses who plonked themselves down at our table. Somehow the subject of age came up & one of them guessed my age at 28 ! I guess there’s gotta be positives to losing the hair due to the chemo etc 😉 Eventually we left for the venue, which was pretty much across the road ! I realised that Gebs had had a few more beers than i thought when he was walking/wobbling 😉 Once inside, it was exactly as i’d thought : a nice old school venue & my seat was PERFECT. Front row on the side, raised & couldn’t have asked for more. I got chatting to a couple of lasses to my right. They were a good laugh. When i told them i’d already seen the show in Manchester, they wanted to know which songs they’d played. They couldn’t believe it when i told them that they didn’t play ” Alone “. Luckily, the band have been changing the set list around a bit though 😉
Heart changed the set around a bit & started with ” Wild Child ” (A cover of a “Romeos Daughter” song). I’ve always loved that song, especially the original version by R.D. Next up it’s ” Magic Man “.
We also had added extra of the classic “Bebe Le Strange ” early in the set list. This was closely followed by ” Sand “. I funny moment before they started ” Sand ” was when someone in the crowd shouted something to Ann. Don’t think she could make out what was said, but, she commented ” People who are not patient, don’t get desserts ” (So i’m guessing said person wanted a particular song to be played )
After the classic ’80s hit ” These Dreams “, the girls near me got the song they wanted, ” Alone ” 😉 The rest of the setlist was the same as in Manchester; lots of classics & finishing with the 3 Led Zeppelin songs. This was a great show. Changing set list & adding songs made for a better night. My seat was in a perfect position to take everything in & capture great moments. Bloody loved this trip. Now hope we wont have to wait years again for their return 😉
The plan today was that Andy would drive us to Lincoln, i’d have my treatment, then drive to Adys at Withern. Ady would then drive us all to Manchester. Best laid plans…. Well, the journey to Lincoln went fine, until we got there. As i was walking up to oncology, it suddenly dawned on me that, i’d forgot to take my medication! What an idiot! First time i’d done that. Thing is, the meds need to be in my system for an hour before they can do radiotherapy. So sheepishy went up to Julie on reception & explained my error. They’re always kind & understanding here & within a minute or so it was arranged that i come back an hour later (when meds had kicked in) & my treatment would follow. We went for a wander around “Go Outdoors” which is close by 😉 Once back, my treatment ran smoothly & we were on our way to Withern by 12.30. Once at Adys we set off for Manchester. The traffic was pretty awful & the weather was threatening rain (Hey, it’s Manchester, what else do you expect?) After a couple of wrong turns etc, we eventually parked up near venue & went for a wander. Found The Pub/Zoo, so had quick drinks there. When we got back to the apollo, doors had opened & we just went straight in to our seats. Whilst they were at end of a row, they were close, so decent view.
FM started things off & were their usual selves. A fine quality band. Don’t think i’ve ever seen a bad show by them. They only had a short set, of 7 songs, but still managed to cover all bases of their career, with old classics like ” I Belong To The Night “, “That Girl “, “Bad Luck”. A pretty balanced set list, especially when given such a short slot. Steve Overland STILL has a fantastic voice. Loved their set !
Having not played the UK since 2004 ( ! ) Heart were well overdue for their return. When i saw the dates, i decided Manchester & Glasgow were my best options. Whilst the trip to Glasgow is expensive, seeing the size of the venue etc, i decided to push the boat out 😉
Heart started off with ” Magic Man “. An absolute classic from the early days. Then it’s staight into a song from their ’80s commercial peak ;
” What About Love ?”. Anns vocals are sounding pretty fine. At the time of the gig, i didn’t have the new album (might not have been released yet actually), so didn’t know what to expect of the new stuff. We were about to find out what to expect, with the next song , ” Beautiful Broken”. This is a really good song. Has a nice edge to it. Good old school rock n roll! (Please also note, on the studio version, James Hetfield backs them up. This version, in my humble opinion, is even better that the live, on their own, version. Also for the real Fanatics out there 😉 this song was also on the previous album release “Fanatic”. Supposedly it’s totally different sounding. I don’t know as don’t own that album ) Interesting they decided to include a ” Lovemongers” song, called “Sand”, in the setlist. Then we’re back to the heady ’80s for ” These Dreams ”
When is a cover song not a cover song ? When it’s “Two” by Ne-Yo. Apparently they heard the song, asked Ne-Yo if they could use/have it & he agreed. It’s yet to be seen if Ne-Yo does his own version or not. We then get a bunch of old classics including ” Straight On “, ” Sweet Darlin” & “Kick it Out”.
There were a couple of things which surprised me about this show. Firstly, that they didn’t play “Alone”. I think that was their biggest hit in the UK (?) so why not play it?. Secondly, was the fact they finished with 3 Led Zeppelin covers. It’s a well known fact that the sisters love a bit of Zep, but, surely it would be better to finish with one of your own songs ??
Overall, it was a great night. Very balanced set list which leaned towards the real old songs. Something i liked There were a couple of small moments where i thought Ann might be struggling, but, considering how long they’ve been doing this, it’s amazing her voice has held out so much over the years. Much respect.