Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fantastic expectations, amazing revelations!

It was like a fanclub reunion, a cultural celebration, rather than a gig in the normal sense. But although an atmosphere of excess permeated the venue, unlike run-of-the-mill cultural events such as the Edinburgh Festival or Cannes, this one was fuelled by Stella Artois and not Dom Perignon, while the labels on show were more Lacoste than Lacroix .

The lone wine drinker I met in the queue for the main bar summed the unique atmosphere up:

“For three quid fifty a pint I’ve just as well getting a bottle of wine. My husband reckons you can get most of it in two plastic glasses and I’ll just drink the rest at the bar.”

The venue was filled to capacity with refugees from the 1990’s. Those fading (or more often filling out) stars of the indie disco who’ve moved on from prowling the second-hand shelves of Avalache and downing shots of cheap tequila with large groups of mates to processing loan applications before heading home for a microwave meal in front Coronation Street with the other half. This lot were now counting their pennies, not mis-spending their youth.

While Soccer Casual chic was the theme of this particular fancy dress party, you could feel the lingering presence of smart suits and bulbous tie knots as you looked around the crowd. The room was swarming with couples, the few groups of polo and check shirted thirty-somethings were lairy but lacked the air of swift but casual violence that no doubt characterised previous Saturday nights after the football.

Despite no support act to speak of, the atmosphere built steadily until the grand entrance.

He was relaxed and in control of the gig, posing for pictures for fans down the front as he sang and making jokes about the last (abortive) gig in Edinburgh. It was a greatest hits set, leading off with his early singles. He did a couple of songs from the new album, and them the moment.

The opening snare drum beats of ‘I am the resurrection’ are an indie call-to-arms. There is no dance floor immune to it. The place went nuts. The air filled with spare lager and gaps opened up in the floor as the crowd surged to the front.

‘I wanna be adored’ followed, the place erupted and the mood changed as if we’d all come up together again. We were together, united and happy. Young again.

Imagine how good it would have been if he could actually sing.