I have no idea how many gigs I’ve attended in my lifetime. I do know that I have tickets for them all, stored away in a drawer, all the way back to the first one (Simple Minds).
I’ve sporadically written up attendance at some of the more recent gigs, but by and large I’ve not bothered, mostly because in the warm afterglow of a gig, EVERY gig is pretty damn good!
It’s a common enough experience, you go and see a band you like and (for the most part) you have a great night hearing your favourite songs played REALLY loud and get this amazing feed of energy and vitality from the crowd. Sometimes it’s almost completely overwhelming and you get carried away in the moment, losing yourself in the moment.
Of course not every gig can be that good and, to date, I’ve only ever walked out of one gig. Sigur Ros and after 20-30 minutes of wailing droning noise I gave up. I like Sigur Ros a lot, but it wasn’t what I expected. But then, what does a band ‘owe’ us when we pay to see them perform?
One thing I have started to do over the last couple of years is be a little choosier as to who I see. Steering away from the ‘big venues’ and looking at smaller bands, or more intimate settings. Tonight I’m off to see KT Tunstall at Oran Mor, and old converted church near where I live. I’ve seen her live before so I know what to expect (great cheeky banter, and a very talented performer).
On the flipside of that I have just bought tickets to see Queens of the Stone Age (again) at the new Glasgow Hydro. Partly because I love the band, partly because of the new venue, which I really hope sounds the death knell for the Big Red Shed (SECC) in which I refuse to attend gigs because it’s so achingly bad.
Next week we are off to Glastonbury and, unlike two years ago at our first, this time around we aren’t massively planning who we want to see. We’ve picked out two or three bands we want to catch but, for the rest of the time we will be determinedly wandering around and hearing what we hear.
One day I’ll revisit that list of gigs, go through all the tickets and jot down any memories they stir up because, for me, that’s one of the reasons to go. To change the connection to the music, to be part of an experience that is both shared and individual. My memory of a lot of my life events is hazy at best, but when it comes to music I can remember lyrics and tracks from the day I bought my first LP (Friend or Foe by Adam and the Ants, favourite track the guitar heavy, A Man Called Marco) and it’s the same for gigs. I’m instantly transported back to the place, who I was with, my emotions at the time and, usually, a specific recollection or two (Runrig at Loch Lomond, smuggling in alcohol by injecting, with a syringe borrowed from some nurses, cartoons of juice with vodka).