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Once Is Not Enough

I wrote half this entry once before... but the wonder that is the blue screen of death decided that what I'd written wasn't good enough, so here I go again.

I've had several crazy travelling weekends.

I went to Mansfield to see Simple Minds.

I went to Harrogate for friends' Wedding Vow Renewal, and related shenanigans.

I went to Wiltshire for my T'ai Chi group's annual Stonehenge visit.

Then, this weekend just gone, I went to see my parents in Wales. Only I made a minor detour on the way.

Friday night was the first night of the Frome Festival. In, you know, Frome. And so there was a gig in Frome featuring Tom McRae and Turin Brakes. And since rougeforever, mrhig, cali369 and Jules were all going, and since it was kind of on the way, I figured I'd go too.

There's a lovely straight line between Warwick and Cirencester (about 2/3 of the way to Frome) called the A429. This was far too easy an option to ignore. If it hadn't been for it being single carriageway most of the way, and there being lots of drivers who think all speed limits everywhere are 40mph, this would have been an excellent plan.

So I was already more than a little bit frustrated by the time I got to the M4. I was running out of time and wondering how the fuck I was gonna fit in time to eat. So when a couple of miles down the road I hit near solid traffic it's no really surprise that I actually screamed in frustration.

Still, after doubling back to the M4 and then going via Bath and one or two other panics and setbacks I still got to Frome 40 minutes before doors. By pure coincidence the Pay and Display I pulled up in turned out to be RIGHT NEXT TO THE VENUE and so all I had to do was sort out food.

I have to confess that I resorted to Subway for eats. It was my first Subway, and while there was nothing actually wrong with it, it did leave me feeling a bit dirty.

By the time I'd eaten, the others were all there, and I joined them in the queue. By the time the doors opened there was quite a long queue snaking around the car park.

I know I've mentioned in the past that I have issues with crowds. Well, this gig was standing room only. And we were RIGHT AT THE FRONT. I was ready to have to take steps if I needed to, but I felt pretty much at ease and stopped thinking about it.

And then Tom came on.

He opened with Hidden Camera Show. The whole set-up was very different to the church gig three months ago. Just Tom and a big screen behind him that showed close-ups of him with weird semi-psychadelic 1970s Top of the Pops visual effects.

I don't have a full set-list (seems to be a theme with my write-up of Tom gigs), but from the Forum I have gleaned the following list:

Hidden Camera Show
For The Restless
Got A Suitcase, Got Regrets
Won't Lie
End Of The World News
The Boy With The Bubblegun
One Mississippi

I'm pretty sure there was a song between End of the World News and The Boy With The Bubblegun but I cannot for the life of me work out what it was.

End of the World News was the only song that really got a big preamble from Tom, and with good reason. The events of the past week that had culminated on Thursday with the announcement that the News of the World was to close down had not gone unnoticed. So when Tom started talking about how he was going to need us to sing along to the next song and that it was going to be a slightly modified version of the song and that we'd all understand when it came to it, I think most people who knew Tom's songs probably knew what was coming.

Oh, the other thing was, he asked before he started that everyone cheer after the first few notes of the song as if it was the best song in the Universe and he was an international megastar or something, to add to it being a special moment for him. We did, and were then admonished for overdoing it.

It really was a special moment. Never mind that the song is one of my favourite Tom songs that I'd not seen live up until that point (although I guess since I've only been to two Tom gigs saying I've not seen a song live yet isn't that big a deal)... It felt like all 8-900 people in the room were singing 'This is the end of the News of the World' (instead of 'This is the End of the World news') in acknowledgment of the strange historical events that had been playing out over the past few days, and in celebration of what seemed to be a victory of common decency over big business. That's a gig moment I'm not going to forget in a hurry. I've not been one to gloat over the closure of the News of the World, but I'll not mourn its passing either.

It was nice to see what I understand is the more usual live version of The Boy With The Bubblegun complete with false finish, and I once again found One Mississippi to be an excellent song to finish on.

Next time I need to see Tom playing with his usual band.

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from Turin Brakes. I knew a few of their songs (more than I realised, it turned out), but I'd never really thought of them as music I liked.

Unfortunately, the sound was really fucked up at the front. It was too loud, and it was distorted, and I'm fairly sure my ears hadn't had to put up with that sort of assault since I was right beneath the speakers when I saw Bon Jovi at Wembley Arena in 1990.

The others in our little group started retreating from the front in the face of this aural violence until suddenly it was just me and Jules. I decided I quite enjoyed the music, it was just a shame the sound was shit. Eventually it got to the point where we decided to retreat too. I was starting to think it was time I was heading on to Wales. Which I did just as the encore started (at around 11pm) - after saying my goodbyes, naturally.

The journey to Wales was much simpler. Although, you know I said Frome was only kind of out of my way? Normal journey time to Mum and Dad's is about 1hr45. By the time I got to them I'd driven for 4.5 hours since I left home. Yeah, only kind of out of my way.

It was an excellent night. Tom's performance was well worth the stress of getting there. And it was a night of interesting firsts for me. I've never gone to a gig specifically to see the support rather than the headliners before. I've never left a gig before the end before (although that was purely down to time issues, nothing to do with the performance). And, most of all, I've never been to a gig that has had a moment so connected to current events before.


( 2 Bitches — Bitch, Plz )
13th Jul, 2011 07:13 (UTC)
Tom McRae is just *fantastic*, isn't he? :D I really need to go and see him live again!
13th Jul, 2011 07:25 (UTC)

He is, yes.
( 2 Bitches — Bitch, Plz )


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