Tag: <span>Hothouse Flowers</span>

I’m beginning to get a little excited about this Saturday’s gig in Balloch. It’s always a bit special going to an outdoor gig, and the setting for this one, with Loch Lomond in the background (about 100 metres from the stage) makes it fairly unique. There have only been three concerts held there, and a couple of Radio 1 roadshows. The first concert was Runrig almost 14 years ago – the concert itself was on the day of Louise’s 18th birthday… oops, shouldn’t have said that!! – and was just a fabulous day. Hard to describe but a combination of good friends (largely the same bunch I’ll be with on Saturday) booze, sunshine and fireworks brought a lump to the throat. Ahh yes, those were the days.

No doubt we’ll be reminiscing on Saturday and various snippets of the day come flooding back easily – the hauntingly reverberating didgeridoo used by the Hothouse Flowers in their opening song sent shivers up the spine, the man painted bright orange, standing next to Lorraine Kelly when Runrig were on stage, our mate Niall sneaking in juice cartoons filled with spirits (injected using a syringe) – and I’m sure Saturday will be the same. However R.E.M. will play a large part in that, and I’m hoping they break with tradition slightly to play a more “greatest hits” orientated set than they normally would.

I missed Oasis playing in Balloch, sort of, as I spent the day floating on the loch on a friends boat, watching the bands of the day being shuttled back and forth across the loch to Cameron House. The Manic Street Preachers the only ones to acknowledge our presence that day, although admittedly the consumption of cheap red wine was the order of the day. Highlight was the sunsetting over the hills, the sky burning crimson as Champagne Supernova blasted out across the water. Awesome stuff.

Thinking about it, I think only the U2 gig at Parkhead on the Zooropa tour and the Stereo MCs in the Barrowlands can top the Runrig gig. Sure the music, venue, people and the entire atmosphere were different for each, but that’s what gigs are all about, what you take from them, what you keep locked away is rarely the music alone.

So, over to you lot, what’s your favourite gig? And why?

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R.E.M. are to follow Runrig and Oasis and play at Balloch.

Ahhh memories. Runrig, at the time, were huge. Their version of “Loch Lomond”, recorded at the event, charted in the top 10 (I think). The gig itself was more like a mini-festival, with several bands on stage before the headliners – Wolfstone, Hothouse Flowers, The Big Dish, Capercaillie and The Fat Lady Sings. I can still remember sitting on the hill overlooking the stage, a beer in hand, the sun shining, and the sound of an amplified didgeridoo reverberating around the hills (from the opening to a Hothouse Flowers track I can’t remember) – there was a stunned semi-silence as you couldn’t see anyone on stage, only hear that eerie, goosebump inducing, sound.

The gig was on the same day as Louise’s birthday, and I remember standing next to Lorraine Kelly (aff the telly) during Runrig’s set. Other random memories include drinking straight vodka smuggled in a juice cartoon (looked like Ribena, sure as hell wasn’t), the ‘tango’ man who had painted himself bright orange, gotten very drunk and ended up crashing down the hill leaving orange paint marks on everyone he stumbled past.

That was *gulp* thirteen years ago.

Fast forward five years and Oasis roll into Balloch for a two night stay. Remember that this was off the back off What’s the Story… and they were HUGE (they went on to do two nights at Knebworth). Not that I was there, tickets sold out in minutes so we took to the water in a friend’s boat. Again it was a day of many bands, and we had some fun as most of them were staying across the Loch at Cameron House, passing us on their way to perform.

So, roll on R.E.M.! My mate Ian’s house is a two minute walk from the park so I’m guessing we’ll start there. I’m excited already!!

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