I was halfway through a blogpost on great gigs from history that I didn’t go to but wish I had. But I ran out of steam chugging through some old familiars - Elvis, Beatles, Stones. Yeah, yeah yeah. Whatever granddad. I've saved the draft so it will doubtless appear on these pages one spring morn when I'm short of ideas about urban architecture or obscure ancient philosophy.
I decided a more interesting, truthful and insightful article might be to record some decent gigs I actually did see. Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, I lived once and have the stolen set-lists to prove it! Whilst Taylor Swift puts on a helluva show, and Sam Smith has a high voice, I have been in the mosh pit a few times in the past and have worn the spilt lager with pride. So let's sift the memory for musical gold and share some nuggets with you.
Teenage Fanclub / Julianna Hatfield Trio - Brighton Event 1993
The Fannies were touring their album Thirteen which, although containing the classic homage to the late great Gene Clark - called imaginatively 'Gene Clark' - was a bit shit and a let down after Bandwagonesque. But they're good live and played The Concept and Everything Flows and were generally loose and in what you could term 'high spirits'. What was a revelation however was the undercard, Julianna Hatfield. I knew her not before that cold night on Brighton seafront. She was great! I've been a fan ever since. The Trio was loud, heavy and just right in those dancing days of grunge before Kurt chewed on a shotgun and blasted us into Britpop. And she played one of my - now - all time favourites - I Got No Idols (guitar version). So, a special night all round. Not sure I got laid later on but it feels like I did. In my memory.
Probably didn't though.
Rod Stewart - Hyde Park 2011
Always loved Mr Stewart but bollox'd on free corporate VIP booze I farkin' luv'd the Rod! Ronnie Wood was there, Stevie Nicks did that floaty thing, Adam Ant reminded us it was an awfully long time ago since he was famous. I was around the back in the VIP area, artfully smoking cafe cremes and drinking Gin and Tonics, laconically watching the backstage live video monitor and soaking up the atmosphere of a corporate fat cat. Then, before I knew it, I was mingling with the plebs in the crowd yelling my head off with Rod for 90 minutes. I remember a phone message I left someone from the gig - hoarse, drunken, shouting along to Sailing or Baby Jane or Hot Legs... Happy Times.
Lisa Stansfield and Blue Zone - Rochdale Football Club 1986
Musically, a bit of a bore, frankly. I was there because I did Classical Studies with Lisa's then musical, and now real-life, partner Ian Devaney. I knew Lisa from years before when we were both in the school play together. Oh the stories I could tell! But on that night I was not there for the music (not really my scene). No, young be-mulleted Tim was mainly trying to chat up girls from my sixth form. I was about as successful at this as Blue Zone was storming the charts. But I remember Lisa providing me with a live personal soundtrack as I cranked out those mid-80s chat up lines to young girls with big hair and shoulder pads.
Blur – Reading Festival 1993
This has gone down in history as the day Blur re-invented themselves and played a storming set on the second stage that ushered in Britpop. Yes, they did premier quite a bit of Parklife and yes they played most of my personal favourite, Modern Life is Rubbish. I hate festivals usually so what the hell was I doing there? Wish I knew. Glad I did but no idea. In retrospect the music at the festival was mainly shit – the headliners were The The FFS – so you can see why Blur caused all those writers of NME to mythologise their set as year zero for a British fightback. Seen Blur many times before and since but this was the best gig I have ever seen them play. Interestingly enough, Radiohead were on before Blur and I probably saw them for a couple of minutes dashing back from Eddie Izzard. But who knows - they were shit in those days.
More tales from 1993 (and other years) another time. Won;t be talking about my experiences watching New Model Army, Dr and The Medics, Tanita Takarum, Sleeper, Alexander O'Neil (why oh why oh why)....