Text Of Festival (4)

Last week there was a cock-up in the list reading department. That teaser about Gig no. 121 - sorry folks, I meant Gig no.180 - same band same venue, but 6 years later! Do we get to it this time??

Gig no.131 - 24/04/88 - Thomas Dolby - Roadmender, Northampton
Left field synth pop from the oddly coiffured Mr Dolby, slightly Germanic in places, strangely strange but oddly normal. Mr Dolby's support act was the R&B (old and proper meaning of the term) wailing of Sam Browne. An odd combination of acts that worked surprisingly well.
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Gig no.136 - 11/05/88 - The Sugarcubes - Leicester University
The band that gave the world Bjork. As I remember it the band had two main vocalists, Ms Godmundsdottir (hope that's right) and a shouty bloke who didn't so much sing as give Icelandic Tourettes stylee exclamations aided by amplification. They were very entertaining.
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Apparently on 19/06/87 we went to Milton Keynes Bowl for The Amnesty International Festival Of Youth. Headlined by The Damned, with support from Big Audio Dynamite, Bhundu Boys, Joe Strummer, and others. It sounds like a great bill, but unfortunately it's one of those 80s moments I have no memory of whatsoever! It probably rained. Or not.
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Gig no.141 - 1/08/88 - 10000 Maniacs - Town & Country Club
Natalie Merchant et al perform her nu-country balladry at the famous London venue before it became a national franchise. A great gig. The thing I recall most vividly was on leaving the North Circular to enter the metropolis we drove straight over a roundabout. No, we had not been drinking or anything else, we just didn't slow down enough and had no option but to go "off road"! The driver wasn't "Simon" from earlier stories, it was "No.2" (heheh).
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Gig no.145 - 28/10/88 - The House Of Love - The Guildhall, Northampton
Back in the Gothic splendour of Shoesville's central control room we saw an amazing performance by Guy Chadwick, Sir Terrence of Bickers, and, err, the other two, at their psych-pop peak. Love In A Car indeedy. I got very drunk but the fact I can actually still remember it means it must have been bonza! "Simon" fell over and I lost a shoe down the front and woke up next morning with a rather sore left foot, and I've no doubt a stonking hangover.
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Gig no.154 - 6/06/89 - Lou Reed - London Palladium
The venue most famous for hosting the never ending Saturday Night At..., where Bruce Forsyth forged his early TV career in the 60s played host this night to rock'n'roll's curmudgeon-in-chief Lou Reed, here showcasing his recently released magnificent New York album, played in it's entirety followed by a greatest hits set. A consummate entertainer at the top of his game. He even said "thank you" at the end.
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Gig no.164 - 16/04/90 - Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute For A Free South Africa - Wembley Stadium
Say Cheeeeeeese!


The view from Row Z
 Held two months after Mandela's release, this concert was given as a sort of international reception and featured nearly an hour of the great man himself, the first ten minutes or so of his appearance taken up by a standing ovation. Boy I'm getting a lump in the throat just writing this. Probably the most emotional concert I've been to or will ever be at for that matter. The bill seems kind of irrelevant, but amonst others, there were appearances by Neil Young,  Denzel Washington, Lou Reed, Jerry Dammers (Free Nelson Mandela - it made the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention), Lenny Henry, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N'Dour, etc. My listing includes markings out of 10 for each gig I've been to (an accountant, moi?), but against this one I've put "Beyond marking". Too right.
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Gig no.179 - 20/11/92 - The House Of Love/Mercury Rev/The Cranberries - Royal Albert Hall, London
Mentioned very briefly in the first part of my gig history. A marvellous bill, topped by the mighty HoL. This would be the last of four times I saw HoL in their prime. A sorely missed band that reformed briefly but disappointingly in 2005.
What also sticks in the mind about this one is the main support act Mercury Rev, at the time an unknown quantity who were promoting their second album Boces. This was some 5 years before their breakthrough album, the stunning Deserter's Songs, and when they still had amongst their ranks the oddball lead singer David Baker. When they arrived on stage minus the singer, the song they launched into had his guttural vocals in it but where was he? Behind us there was a commotion in the crowd, and at first we thought a scrap had broken out - but no, it was Baker shoving his way through the packed standing audience in the aisles while singing at the same time. In hindsight a piece of pure showmanship, but at the time it seemed a bit unsettling, as you could tell this guy was clearly a tangerine short of a fruit salad. The volatile Baker left the band shortly after this tour and Mercury Rev pursued a slightly less avant garde direction culminating in the psych pop masterpiece that is Deserter's Songs.
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Gig no.180 - 21/01/93 - Julian Cope - Cambridge Corn Exchange
Aha! Here we are then. A great gig by the psychedelic warlord Mr Julian H Cope at the height of his then burgeoning solo career. What makes this different is that most of our party were under the influence of "disco biscuits", the recreational substance de jour. It was my round, and I'm stood at the crowded bar when suddenly WOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSHHHH..."Please stand clear of platform Roger as the approaching train will not stop and it will be travelling at 307 mph".........
I could see the barman had probably asked me what I wanted. All I could do was grin, a lot. The barman then probably told me to do one, and served someone else. I did eventually buy the round, but how long after I've no idea, as one's temporal abilities were utterly skewed out of kilter!
I do recall dancing a lot back in the gig. Those who know would count this as strange behaviour for yours truly.
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Final part (thank your deity of choice) next week!

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