Rugby and rock concerts. Two pursuits of happiness that make for a contented Lizzie. Last weekend was all about that particular combination with a rugby match at Wembley and not one, but two, Stereophonics concerts.
Amazingly I had not actually attended a rugby match here in the UK until last Saturday. Considering I made a point of attending every possible Lions, Hurricanes and All Black game back in Wellington, this long gap in rugby attendance is rather uncharacteristic. However, for the grand total of ten quid I found myself among 45,000+ other spectators for Saracens vs Leinster at Wembley. Wembley is a stunning ground, and while Leinster took the victory over the home team (thanks to Sexton and to the delight of the Irish supporters around me), I was just a bit gutted that my camera wasn’t working because it was a truly gorgeous early Autumn’s day. Well, I thought my camera wasn’t working. I tried turning it on and got the message change battery pack. I thought this was a strange message as the last time I checked the battery (the day before) it was full but nevertheless I put it back in my bag. It wasn’t till I got home that I found that the battery was fine, the camera was fine, it was just having a bit of a moment on me. Shame, because there was a clear, crisp blue sky behind Wembley and you could see out over most of the City of London from the stadium – it would have made a lovely photo or two. This disappointment was tempered somewhat by the Elvis impersonator I passed on the way to the ground singing Suspicious Minds. Awesome.
The Stereophonics performed their two shows at the Hammersmith Apollo with Word Gets Around on the Sunday night and Performance & Cocktails on the Monday night. Not used to school night excursions two nights running, I was a zombie at work on the Tuesday, fuelled by tea and anything with sugar.
I have been a bit of a mark for the ‘Phonics since I was but a school girl and – as I mentioned in this post – I have made a point of attending as many of their concerts as possible while I’m here in the UK. The ‘Phonics are supreme live and these concerts were no exception. Both nights started with Kelly telling anecdotes of Stuart Cable, who sadly passed away earlier this year. I particularly appreciated the story of Stuart and their first ever gig at Wembley Stadium in 1999. Stuart was big on rugby and the same day and time that the ‘Phonics were playing Wembley (supporting Aerosmith no less) was the same day and time that Wales were playing the ‘Boks. This presented a dilemma for Stuart (and one with which I can sympathise). Faced with a 60,000+ audience, Steven Tyler on one wing of the stage and Noel Gallagher on the other wing of the stage, Stuart solved his problem by taking a small portable telly on stage with him so to not miss the match. Good on ya, mate.
Highlights of the concerts? For Sunday, one would be Kelly’s response for a request for Sex on Fire from someone in the audience. “F*#k your Sex on Fire” was his reply, easily one of the best quips of the night, week, month, year. Thank you Mr Jones. But seriously, closing with Bartender instead of Dakota (and similarly closing with Local Boy instead of Dakota on the Monday) was awesome. Also well enjoyed was Too Many Sandwiches. Back in the days of school uniforms and homework I wrote out the lyrics to this song in Carla’s leaving book – that was how much I liked it, so much so that I knew it off by heart and ten years on and I still know it by heart. Also deserving an honourable mention was the Word Gets Around version of She Takes Her Clothes Off and the humble request that they play this version more often? Please and thank you. Highlights for Monday night would be Roll Up and Shine, Is Yesterday Tomorrow Today? Nice To Be Out, Plastic California and I Stopped to Fill My Car Up which ends with a particularly storming solo by Adam and worth hunting out online.
Set list 17 October:
Chaplin/Tramp’s Vest/Thousand Trees/Carrot Cake & Wine/Chris Chambers/Tie Me Up & Tie Me Down/Same Sized Feet/Traffic/Goldfish Bowl/Check My Eyelids for Holes/Buy Myself a Small Plane/Poppy Day/Home to Me/She Takes Her Clothes Off/Too Many Sandwiches Encore 1: Billy Davy’s Daughter/Raymond’s Shop/Last of the Big Time Drinkers/Local Boy Encore 2: Pick a Part that’s New/Radio/Maybe Tomorrow/Have a Nice Day/Dakota/Bartender
Set list 18 October:
Roll Up & Shine/Bartender/Hurry Up & Wait/Pick a Part that’s New/Just Looking/Half the Lies You Tell Ain’t True/Radio/Fiddlers Green/T Shirt Suntan/Is Yesterday Tomorrow Today?/In My Day/A Minute Longer/Sunny Afternoon/Nice To Be Out/She Takes Her Clothes Off/Plastic California/I Stopped To Fill My Car Up Encore 1 Thousand Trees/Tramp’s Vest/Same Sized Feet/Too Many Sandwiches Encore 2: Traffic/Maybe Tomorrow/Have a Nice Day/Dakota/Local Boy