Golly a whole month and no post. Considering one of my New Year Resolutions was to post more frequently, this is not so good. Will have to be more proactive on the blogging frontier! Here’s an update from the past week.
Last week started out as one of those weeks that just promised to drag. Exacerbated by a period of poor sleep, Monday and Tuesday felt like an age, a veritable eternity, instead of just two days. It was perfect time then for a pick-me-up on Wednesday night in the form of another excellent concert by the Stereophonics. Standing in my favourite spot, watching one of my favourite live bands, letting my inner Rock Chick out for a couple of hours, was the perfect remedy for an otherwise totally forgettable week.
One (of the few) downsides of living in New Zealand is that it is a long way from pretty much everywhere, including for bands to come and play. I missed the Stereophonics the first time they came to Aotearoa, not quite making the age restriction for the gig. Needless to say when they finally returned ten years later I toddled along to Auckland’s Powerstation for the show (this time I well and truly met the age restriction). Since moving to the UK I’ve made up for lost opportunities, taking the time to see them live a further three times: at London’s O2 Arena in December 2008, Cardiff Castle in October 2009 and last Wednesday (also at the O2).
Not known for being one of the darlings of the music critics, I’ve seen the Stereophonics been described as ‘workman like’ in their approach to music. I don’t think this is a bad thing. In fact, it can be a very good thing. There is no pretence at a Stereophonics’ concert, no smoke and mirrors, you know what you’re going to get – and that’s a 20-something set list of bloody good live music. Not that I have anything against the more theatrical type of concert (I am afterall a Floyd fan), but it’s important that the music takes centre stage. Theatrics are great, especially when they enhance what’s being played or provide visually what the music’s saying. However, sometimes it seems that acts use it to cover a weakness in their music – they’re all flash and no substance. It’s musical malnutrition if you like – it fills you up but doesn’t nourish you.
Anyway, come Wednesday evening I ambled along to the O2, dressed in black (black jeans, black t-shirt, black biker jacket – it’s a uniform of sorts for the rock orientated isn’t it?) and ready to have a good time. Which is to say, ready to sing along to all songs in a voice that is best not to be heard, and dance in a way that best not to be seen (not that either of those considerations stop me). The set list in its entirety follows, but here are my top three songs of the evening:
- Maybe Tomorrow – only ever seen it live with just Kelly and his Strat. This time it was the whole band, and I loved it.
- Stuck in a Rut. I like this live, a lot.
- Bartender/Local Boy/Just Looking. Yeah, I cheated, there are three songs here, but I always look forward to these three (in that order), so it was a given that they’d make the list. Bartender was especially stomping though.
Innocent/A Thousand Trees/More Life in a Tramps Vest/I Got Your Number/Superman/Pick a Part/Uppercut/Stuck in a Rut/Same Sized Feet/Maybe Tomorrow/Live n Love/Traffic/Trouble/Could You Be The One?/Radio/Beerbottle/Mr Writer/Have a Nice Day/Caravan Holiday/Just Looking/Local Boy
Encore: She’s Alright/Bartender & The Thief/Dakota