Top 5 gigs?
Ooh this may take some time! There’s almost too many to remember – I’m sure I’ve got an old box of ticket stubs bursting to bits at the back of one of my wardrobes somewhere.
Don’t you love the buzz of anticipation before the show? That stale smell of the venue from last night’s beer, sweat and smoke machines? The touts outside trying to trade tickets at vastly under and over priced rates depending on your buying or selling preference.
The naughty counterfeit shirt and merch sellers post gig. The support bands and the roadies sound-checking the mics as if they’re Liam Gallagher.
What’s the best place to stand for a tear up in the mosh pit? Should I hang back near the mixing desk for a better sound? What if the support band are shite? How close to the bar do I need to be? Absolutely. Love. It.
Obviously we’d be here all day if I listed all the shows, so I’ll try to break it down and warm you up with a few absolute corkers:
Oasis – Wembley Stadium
The Music – Fibbers, York
Ron Sexsmith – The Irish Centre, Leeds
The Black Keys – O2, Newcastle
The Killers – University of Newcastle
Doves – The Uni Bar, Leeds
The Libertines – The Refectory, Leeds
King Creosote – The Sage, Newcastle
Richard Hawley – The Leadmill, Sheffield
But here’s the REALLY good, top 5 list:
Supergrass supported by Spacehog – Town and Country Club, Leeds
Of course the first gig is always special. For me, it was at Leeds Town and Country Club in 1998, Supergrass supported by Spacehog. We got there early and queued around the block.We’d been playing their new album ‘In It For The Money’ on repeat since the release. The only other album that got a look in during that time was their first album ‘I Should Coco’ so it was safe to say we were invested.
We almost shit ourselves when we spotted Danny Goffey jumping into a knackered Ford Escort at the back of the venue going to grab some cigs.
Goes without saying that they smashed the show – a tongue in cheek Highway Code commercial projected on to a large white curtain to lull us in to a false sense of security and then BAM! Curtain drops and the lads fly straight in to ‘Caught by the Fuzz’.
The whole place moshed and bounced around like a big sweaty carpet – it was genuinely electric!
Bruce Springsteen – Lansdowne Road, Ireland
Probs the best birthday present ever.
A 3 hour wait for the gates to open, torrential rain for the whole show and a £10 poncho that evaporated 5 seconds after putting it on, but I kid you not – he stormed in to ‘Waiting on a Sunny Day’ and for 3 and a half minutes it stopped. Fucking. Raining. Absolute voodoo.
I’m not a fan of large stadium gigs, but let’s face it, when The Boss is in town, it isn’t gonna be an understated show is it?
The E-Street band were tight, Clarence got a special cheer from the crowd and they crashed through some of the monster hits while we sang along to every word.
Halfway through the show Bruce ran in to the crowd and collected handfuls of cardboard placards with song requests painted on them spanning his whole career. He managed to fight his way back to the stage and pull them out at random – without missing a beat the band just crashed straight into the tracks one after another.
Decades worth of songs at the drop of a hat, incredible!
Arctic Monkeys – The Cavern, Liverpool
They only had the songs written for what was to be become their debut album ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’.
They played through the tracks at double the speed but trust me, Arctic Monkeys and what felt like 1 million fans (100 tops) crammed in to The Cavern still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
The buzz and excitement in that sweaty room was epic. I found a clip of it online recently, and it was really was as berserk as I remember it.
I remember having to buy an official AM shirt to replace mine that was pretty much ripped from my back during Certain Romance. A phenomenal show!
The Strokes – The Corn Exchange, Edinburgh
A touch of right place right time with this little number when a mate text me saying there was a Strokes ticket up for grabs.
I couldn’t believe my luck and snapped his hand off!
We made it a weekend effort, quite literally a 16 hour pub crawl followed by ‘Is This It’ played in order with an extra track (which turned out to be ‘Meet me in the Bathroom’) thrown in for good measure.
I remember the place nearly going in to meltdown because Fab came out to set up his own drum kit before the show and started shaking hands with the front row. They were brilliant and I genuinely felt that I’d seen megastars in the making.
The night finished up in Liquid Room singing at the top of our voices to Indie/Britpop classics.
Needless to say, the train ride back to Yorkshire the next morning was an absolute shocker . . .
REM – Old Trafford, Manchester
They were unstoppable. I remember it being a perfect mini festival – the weather was hot, the beer was cold and the line up was ace.
Standout performers on the day were Athlete and Badly Drawn Boy – I ended up buying all their albums following the show, but REM were different gravy.
By this point in their career, they must have played ‘Everybody Hurts’ 10 thousand times, but trust me, that night, they played the song as if it was the first time and I still can’t really describe how good it was.
Obviously the whole set was a winner, but that track hit the stratosphere and served as a lesson in how to please a very large crowd.
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely going to be more crackers to come. I’m always on the lookout for new music and those brilliantly small sweaty gigs that document the start of another ‘soon to be massive’ band that you just have to tell your mates about.
I’d be hard pressed to budge these ones off the top 5 list.
So, tell me what are yours? Who are you listening to?
Let’s make some more memories.
Speak soon, big love.
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