Saturday, 24 July 2010

Tripping the live fantastic.

I felt like I didn't really get chance to talk about the good things in the last post I made. Most of June for myself - outside of the Uni worry and results obtaining - consisted mostly of live music.

I enjoy seeing bands/artists live, and to have the opportunity to see three artists in the space of a month was something I didn't really want to miss out on. The artists/bands in question I got to see were: Mark Knopfler, Simply Red and Paul McCartney.

Mark Knopfler; I'm not a big fan if I'm honest, my mother wanted company (same with Simply Red) as she really wanted to see him perform his stuff live, so okay I thought, I'll take the opportunity while it's presented and I wound up enjoying his show quite a lot. I've never really been big on Knopfler's solo stuff or the stuff he did with Dire Straits but I was fairly blown away by the show.

So okay, yeah, he sat down through the whole thing because of a trapped nerve in his back and a lot of the songs weren't familiar, but the fact that all the instruments were real (trumpets, xylophones, violins etc) made it seem, like, just wow. It's difficult to explain.

I'm not sure what songs he really did but he did do Sailing To Philadelphia, So Far Away and Romeo and Juliet, I must add I'm pretty miffed at the lack of Money for Nothing (his biggest hit) but apparently he doesn't like playing that any more.

Next band on my June hit list of bands I'm seeing was Simply Red. Now Simply Red were interesting in that they had an opening act, which is something Mark Knopfler didn't have. The opening act was a woman I had never heard of until I saw her live, she was Diane Birch. Now not many people knew her songs as she was still an up and coming artist. Well she came on stage, with a guitarist and they both just launched into a song before any sort of introduction, and surprisingly enough - for me at least - was that she was good, really good. The greatest part about her songs though was the way she got around her lack of a full band; her and the guitarist would bang out a beat using a box, or the stage, record that and then add layers(like hand claps and back up vocals). It was really cool.

Then came Simply Red; like with Knopfler, I'm not very familiar with their stuff, but they put on a great show, Mick Hucknall has such a great voice and it really came across live, he sounded nearly EXACTLY like he does on record and the band were phenomenal too. It was really nice hearing more instruments live, like the saxophone, as Knopfler was limited to folky instruments cause that's what he does. The atmosphere was great too, with people standing up, dancing and singing a long to the songs they knew as they played they're greatest hits pretty much. Mick Hucknall was an energetic ball of fire too, jumping around the stage and hilariously acting like a woman at times. I'm just disappointed they didn't play Night Nurse.

A week after Simply Red came the Paul McCartney gig, an artist I am familiar with so much I pretty much knew the set list before he even played it (thanks Good Evening New York City). The day started with me and my mum arriving in Cardiff and the mad rush to collect our tickets because Ticketmaster had forgot how to use the postal system. After that we met up with my friend and his girlfriend as they were there to see Paul McCartney too, so off we went for food before the big gig (order got messed up, I received trees instead of BBQ sauce).

After food and general faffing about we made our way to the millennium stadium, entered with ease and sat down and waited for the opening bands to get off the stage so Paul McCartney could grace the stage. The first band opening were the joy formidable, they sucked. The second opening band were the manic street preachers, they sucked too.

After the tide of ear turd that were the opening bands, on came the screens, which had greetings from Liverpool and Beatles related images and such, the excitement was at boiling point as he was expected to be on at 7:30pm. 7:30 rolled around and the roof was getting closed which took a LONG ass time, after the roof was closed, OFF went the lights and on came the star of the show himself, every body in the stadium got off their seat and never sat back down for the rest of the show.

Macca started with a little medley of Venus and Mars/Rockshow/Jet and never let up, he played for pretty much 3 hours straight with no breaks, he played all the songs you'd expect to hear at a Macca gig and some underrated gems too (Ram On, Ob-La-Di, Ob-la-Da). There was banter in between songs, he spoke welsh to the crowd, got booed for claiming Liverpool is the true capital of Wales and whatever it is he does.

He was on top form, lots of energy and my favourite thing of the night was probably the atmosphere, everybody enjoyed it (apart from some bloke who stood next to me with his arms folded and his lips tight through the whole thing). But the highlight of the night had to be when Macca cut the music for Hey Jude and encouraged the crowd to sing the sing a long bit as loud as they could, it was really something hearing everyone in the stadium singing a long. The Live and Let Die fireworks were also really cool.

The month of June was a very fun one, I enjoy live music and probably had the most enjoyable night of my life when seeing Paul McCartney and I'd love to see him again if he ever returns to Wales. Knopfler I'm not so fussed on, same with Simply Red(last tour anyway) but I wouldn't mind seeing Diane Birch again...if she sets foot in Wales again.

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