Has it really been twenty years?
The Wonderstuff arrived on stage at a very early 10 to seven-ish and blazed there way through a greatest hits package which included “Welcome to the Cheap Seats”, “Give, Give, Give Me More, More, More” and “Don’t Let Me Down, Gently”. Thankfully there was no “Dizzy” (at least from what I heard – I missed the first few minutes), which I was dreading, and the packed crowd really enjoyed the set, and judging by the look on Miles’ face, so did the band.
I moved to the edge of the mosh pit for the Levellers and the gig started with a sound and visual show of the last 20 years in 3 minutes. The majority of the events and people portrayed seemed to get viciously booed by the crowd, which just goes to show that whoever you are you’re probably going to get remembered badly by the majority of people, or not at all (I heard one bloke comment after the gig, “They (the Levellers) were brilliant, but how many records have they made in the last 20 years? None.” Well 6 actually, but you obviously weren’t listening).
As it was an album run through the running order was pretty much as the album, so we started with “One Way” – which seemed strange as that usually comes somewhere near the end – had a break at the half way point for some brilliant b-sides, including the brilliant “Hard Fight” (the highlight of my night) and a gloriously fast “Last Days of Winter”, but sadly, no “Plastic Jesus”.
Played just before the b-sides, “Liberty Song” was blinding, as was “Fifteen years”.
There was a spot of trouble in the mosh pit at one point with Mark saying “Be nice” and pointing at people. Security then dived in and probably caused more trouble than was necessary, but the Levs kept going through it all.
Mark introduced side 2 with “This is side two of your vinyl or cassette”, and off we went with “Far From Home”.
A manic version of “Riverflow” and then “Battle of the Beanfield” finished the album off. I can’t remember what happened after that because it all went a bit mad, but we definitely got two encores and “What a Beautiful Day” was played at some point.
Marvelous gig, wonderful atmosphere. Great band.
Has it really been twenty years? It certainly didn’t feel like it…
Oh, and I trod on Miles Hunt’s foot on the way back from the toilet during “Another Man’s Cause”.