Monday, 23 May 2011

Bryan Gigs

Today in work, the topic of conversation has been mainly about Gigs.

No that's not a spelling mistake and I'm sure that in a couple of months the title of this post will be baffling but it made me smile so that's all that matters really.

We were actually talking music gigs. We were discussing our first big concerts, our favourites, most unexpected in a good way and also in a disappointing way. We also talked about those little music venues where you may have just seen the next big thing and you remember their name for a week and then forget all about them until they are number one in 15 European countries including the Republic of Ireland no less.

So here are mine, for the record.

First Big Gig

I went to see Suzanne Vega in 1987 at the NEC in Birmingham and it introduced me to the effect such a big crowd could have on listening to music. It was a seated gig and Suzanne is not necessarily going to get you dancing in the aisles, but even for someone who has such an intimate singing style, she filled the auditorium and made me feel that I was the only one there and that she was singing just for me.

Most Unexpected in a Good Way

There were two contenders for me in this category. Liverpool has a tradition of Summer Pops and before the Liverpool arena was built, they used to hold the summer concerts in a big top tent (It was huge) on a large car park which is where the arena now stands.As Mrs S and I always had to travel to Manchester or beyond for our big gig live music fix, this was quite exciting. However, we weren't overly enthused one year and just chose what we thought would be OK. I have to say, you would be surprised at the number of Bryan Adams songs you know and could sing along to the chorus to. And he also knows how to put on a show. We were sold and have since seen the Groover from Vancouver (you are legally obliged to call him that at least once when writing about him) on a number of occasions since.

But my nomination in this category goes to Savage Garden. This was one of those times (and there have been many that Mrs S has really wanted to go to a concert and I've gone along for the ride. I quite liked the music but only to the point that I wouldn't turn the radio over when they came on. I expected to go and see the antipodean pair standing at the front of the stage with guitars in hand running from one side to the other. So what followed was an enormous surprise and a huge pleasure. The set was astounding with a fully interactive rear lighting come stage unit that had so many combinations and variations it was mesmerising and the performers and choreography was incredible. It is such a shame that the band went their separate ways soon after but I am glad we were able to see the show before the split.

Most Disappointing

 A more recent one this one. And it probably is the most disappointing because of the high expectations I had that weren't fulfilled. Kaiser Chiefs have a catalogue full of crowd pleasing anthems. So I went completely prepared to come out of the arena with no voice left after singing my little socks off. I did sing along, but I felt conscious of my singing rather than being swept up in the atmosphere. It wasn't that The Kaiser Chiefs were bad, but I expected so much more.

Small Venue Gig

For my birthday 2 years ago a group of us went to a small pub on Seel Street in Liverpool called Heebiejeebies It's a strange set up. It takes up the buildings surrounding three sides of a small courtyard (about the same size as a tennis court) and was previously a warehouse or trading post in the city. The bar had good beer and in the courtyard was a small stage against the wall that wasn't part of the venues buildings.

We went there at around 3 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon as we knew that Phil Jones, who is a big local singer, was playing a matinee there. The atmosphere was so relaxed that we could just chill, slowly pickle and enjoy the music. We got talking to other people who had just wandered in and was offered the opportunity of a free weeks holiday in the Isle of Man by one of the punters who was on a lads golfing weekend. The music was excellent (all his own stuff) and the venue was perfect.

Must go back.

I actually think you can hear me singing in this video (about 2 mins 30 seconds in)


I've seen some big names. Madonna (twice) at Wembley Stadium, Paul McCartney (twice) in Liverpool, Guns 'n' Roses, James Taylor and many many more. Mrs S and I don't go out very often but when we do, there is usually live music involved and we look forward to the bigger concerts we go to. But one concert stands out for me.

April 20th 1992 at Wembley Stadium. It was just 4 months earlier that the world was rocked by the death of a legend. Freddie Mercury was the one star that I would love to have seen live that I never have. But on balmy Easter Monday in London, I saw huge stars pay tribute to him. Elton john, Liza Minelli, George Michael, Zucherro, Guns 'n' Roses, Annie Lennox, David Bowie and many more all took to the stage with Freddie's fellow members of Queen to entertain a global audience of millions, and 72,000 of us in the stadium. It was like the noisiest wake ever. It may be a cliche but it genuinely was like one big family joined together to celebrate the life of the prodigal son.

It will stay in my memory for ever.

So how about you? What was your first, favourite etc. let me know about your live music memories.

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