HOWARD JONES, DREAM INTO ACTION TOUR, HORDERN PAVILION, SYDNEY, AUG 1985
Who Supported? The Expression
Having missed Icehouse in Wellington a few years’ previous – see regrets below – and Tears For Fears (they played the night of the day I arrived) spewing was not the word! I settled on HoJo who was on album number two and subsequent downward spiral.
What I remember? The opening with HJ coming on dressed in purple to the beat of Pearl in the Shell. His brother on bass and the crazy guy on drums. Also did a rocking version of Always Asking Questions. With great respect to HJ it wasn’t the Big Chair and I’ll always wonder what that night (July 29) might have been like.
Photo Credit: ebay
INXS, KICK TOUR, COLSTON HALL, BRISTOL, DEC 1987
Who Supported? Sinead O’Connor!
Getting to a gig at all was a mission while based in a Welsh border town where the buses stop at lunch time and trains were few and far between. It was a bit of a surprise when INXS announced a Bristol show. No-one played Newport unless they were down the dumper, they’ve played everywhere else six times over or they’re a-ha who were clearly duped into it by management and were too naive to say ‘Hey, where is that? Who else plays there?’
What I remember? The pre-gig chit chat at the merchandise stand. One of the lads present wasn’t happy with the new plain type logo and thought they should have stuck with the squiggly INXS logo on the previous Listen Like Thieves album which I agreed with for a while but now know they couldn’t have as KICK is an unusual beast – not just a rock album. As per the gig, I think they opened with Kick. Michael Hutchence said something about Thatcher and wore the same outfit he wears in the Devil Inside video. Jon and Tim with the shakers during Mediate and of course What You Need, the song that really turned me onto them. Soon after this New Sensation was released and they weren’t ours anymore – everyone knew about them.
Photo Credit: eBay / New Sensation from discogs.com
THE THE, MIND BOMB, NEWPORT CENTRE, AUTUMN 1989
And speaking of the Newport Centre where I probably looked a total dork in my white winter jumper even though it was cold enough to merit one. Still, at an alternative rock show?
What I remember? An older guy in the audience behind me, I was up in the stands, sang along to Heartland and I recall another guy doing the bummed out student whirly dance stage left (possibly a Smiths fan – of course it was Johnny Marr on guitar that evening). Mind Bomb was not their best. The next one Dusk was better after which their magic spell was broken i.e. the record label dropped them and many ‘fans’ switched off or moved on to other bands including me.
Photo Credit: discogs.com
COCTEAU TWINS, FOUR CALENDAR CAFE, CARDIFF UNIVERSITY, FEB 1994
Who Supported? Seefeel
Good god was it really February 1994? And I believe their first proper tour. The ticket stub was beautifully resplendent in Four Calendar Cafe styling, but it’s another casualty of serial moving.
What I remember? Getting a sneak preview courtesy of their sound check when a burly bouncer appeared and threw anyone listening out into the freezing winter to wait. Not that you could see the band courtesy of a well placed pillar anyway, nonetheless Cardiff Uni has a walkway that snakes around the outside of the building where we were forced to queue. Once inside I stood at the back anxiously waiting for the band to come on. Seefeel supported and did nothing for me whatsoever.
Finally after what seemed an eternity several dark figures came on to the stage but these were not roadies this was them! With the addition of several others for the live band, seven in total if memory serves. Cue whoops and woos from some of the audience. Opening with Pur was an inspired start and not one I’d thought of. A bit later Whales Tails was dusted off. The downside? As great as she is on record, Liz Frazer on more than one occasion screamed into the mic which wasn’t pretty, maybe nerves getting the better of her. Gig fittingly 50/50 but glad I saw them. Came away with a prized CT beanie which some years’ later died in the washer.
SEAL, SEAL II, CARDIFF INTERNATIONAL ARENA, SEP 1995
Who Supported? Can’t remember.
The tour to see was his first in the early nineties when he had edge. This was a little more diluted by the Simple Red MOR he’d opted for on Seal II. Still opener I’m Alive was pretty rockin’
What I remember? It being empty! Truly a shock for such a big venue. The piercing green light for Prayer for the Dying. Someone telling him to take his shirt off and then something else – inaudible – more naughty. Seal said ‘I can’t even repeat what you just said.’ Line up included Jamie Muhoberac on keys.
Photo Credit: SEAL LIVE amazon.com and eBay
ROBERT FRIPP, SOUNDSCAPES, SALISBURY CATHEDRAL, JUNE 1997
This is where travel and music combined in a first trip down to Salisbury. Good time. Robert was doing several days of improvisations in the cathedral. According to serious fans who saw all of them, the day I was present was the worst.
What I remember? It started ok with subtle bells and chimes but too much of the two and a half hours was a drab dirge musically speaking. I was however struck by his playing for a few moments then programming his digital box of tricks to do the talking by letting his music waft around the cathedral while he then became part of his own audience. I thought about introducing myself but was too embarrassed so said nothing. Apparently without knowing it, this was a good move as he hates anyone approaching him mid-performance! Someone else tried his luck only for Fripp to skilfully slink a neat sideline before circumnavigating the church to take the seat I had vacated to get a more central take on proceedings.
TIM BOWNESS, 12 BAR CLUB, LONDON, ?? 1999
Who Supported? Can’t remember but good drummer.
I’ve seen Tim a couple of times and this was the first in a tiny club in Denmark Street. This was not just memorable for being Tim but also in meeting ex-Japan drummer Steve Jansen – albeit for a matter of seconds.
What I remember? The band including Pete Chilvers crammed onto a tiny stage. Tim sipping on Red Bull and then saying something about Colonel Saunders! The set list being nabbed by eager hands at the end of the show. Had a good chat to Tim and Peter after which is always good to get an insight into the songs.
THE HUMAN LEAGUE, PERSONAL APPEARANCE (PA), ASTORIA, LONDON, JAN 2000
Still hosteling in London in the winter, a different vibe. One of the newbies was a gay guy who invited me to see HL with him as he was alone in London. I wasn’t really into the idea then but am glad I went now.
What I remember? Phil Oakey who spoke about the last century not being too bad save for the war. Did all the usual hits and it would have been a year off Secrets coming out, though I don’t think they previewed anything from it.
DALE RYDER BAND, SILVERS, MELBOURNE, APR OR MAY 2001
A Melbourne moment worth savouring. Flicking through a free press I noticed an ad, it was for then dormant Boom Crash Opera lead singer’s gig at a small club. I was on the tram like a whippet.
What I remember? Mid-way through his covers set he jumped off the stage (in his suit) and stood in front of me. Aware of this he swung round and motioned to me as if to say ‘can you see?’ I could but I was equally starstruck. I struck up enough courage to ask if he’d do a BCO track. He sniggered as if he was amazed anyone would want to hear one. He said ‘might do one later.’ Regrettably I had a late tram to catch so I’ve no idea if he did or not. It is now most likely the only time I will ever see him on a stage. A shame I never caught him with the Boom Crash Opera but pleased to have seen him at all and his version of LRB’s Reminiscing was really bloody good.
MIDNIGHT OIL, CAPRICORNIA TOUR/FIERCE FESTIVAL, BROCKWELL PARK, BRIXTON, LONDON, JUNE 2002
Who Supported? Part of Antipodean music fest.
What I remember? Running from the Australian Pink Floyd tent only to be refused entry to the mosh pit by the security guy who must’ve been about 16. Even a flash of my press pass didn’t do it for him so a few of us had to take the long way round where another more professional security guy awaited. As majors the Oils had a stage rather than a tent. The mosh pit was one of my most embarrassing moments as all the other photographers had huge cameras with equally huge lenses. I on the other hand still had my trusty Hanimex point and shoot which I had to whip out for the odd shot of Peter Garrett with a presence almost as large as the Christ statue in Rio! Band were ok. New Zealand’s Fur Patrol on the same bill (different tent).
BIC RUNGA, BEAUTIFUL COLLISION, THE GARAGE, ISLINGTON, LONDON, SEP 2003
Who Supported? A duo but can’t remember the name (sorry guys, see below)
More Kiwiana this time from Runga junior (see Stellar below).
What I remember? The support act being justifiably irked no-one was listening. Bic herself being perplexed by an argument taking place later between members of the audience and correcting the patrons on the lyrics to Sway.
PORCUPINE TREE, IN ABSENTIA TOUR, ASTORIA, LONDON, NOV 2003
Who Supported? Tim Bowness and Peter ‘Henry VIII of the keyboard’ Chilvers
Truth be known I only went in the hope of an impromptu No-Man performance. It never happened. Quite miffed at the time. But…
What I remember? This was the turning point for the Tree. Up til then I hadn’t rated them at all but this show changed that. Truly amazing not just for Steven Wilson but also Richard Barbieri and especially Gavin Harrison. Support from Tim and Peter Chilvers – cue plenty of shouts for Timbow!
BEVERLEY KNIGHT, CARDIFF BIG WEEKEND, AUG 2005
Who Supported? Many as part of festival.
OK I didn’t pay for this one but it was a change to see someone soul-y save for Leza a bit further up the track.
What I remember? Eleven years ago! Time most certainly does fly. Also her backing singer did the best Luther Vandross impression on Never Too Much. Brilliant stuff for free.
JAMES BLUNT, ST DAVID’S HALL, CARDIFF, ?? 2005??
Who Supported? Can’t remember.
At the hall tonight, You’re Beau-ti-ful…
What I remember? The first thing is that some idiot decided to present him as a cool alternative artist by showing an image of a pill! WTF this was James Blunt not the Happy Monday’s. Anyway, pretty good gig, he mentioned that Cardiff wasn’t on the tour originally and looked genuinely teary eyed at the end by all the applause.
PAUL BUCHANAN (BLUE NILE), ROYAL CONCERT HALL, GLASGOW, MAY 2006
Who Supported? A woman with an acoustic guitar (can’t remember the name)
In Glasgow at the right time for a Saturday night with PB.
What I remember? No merchandise for the modest enigma. Band included BN’s Robert Bell on bass and two other guys, one on keys and an Irish drummer. Set was reliable renditions of Blue Nile staples and he really did look like a geography teacher when he sang ‘Yes, I love you’ while pointing at the crowd during Tinseltown. Other than the Nile songs he did Strangers in the Night with comedic ‘shoo-bee-doo-bee-doos’ to boot. A big ask from a patron resulted in this come back from PB ‘yeah, I do requests so long as they’re on this bit of paper’ (pointing to set-list at his feet).
JOHN FOXX, TINY COLOUR MOVIES, BARFLY, CARDIFF, JULY 2006
Who Supported? Can’t remember there being one.
The Barfly was to Cardiff what the 12 Bar was to London, a small but reliable music venue. In the Barfly’s case a dark hovel opposite Cardiff Castle.
What I remember? It was an odd night in Cardiff with Madonna no less taking up residence at the Millennium Stadium and our man along with Louis Gordon in the unusual position of being in’t basement. First song was the very lovely Sideways. Did a very good version of Plaza with an extended stretch of ‘I remember your face…’ Clearly he remembered mine – he must have perused my website – as he looked terrified! I have no idea why. That same night a woman kept telling him to get his cock out. He was humoured at first but it quickly begin to grate on him. Maybe she thought punk was still happening.
Photo Credit: discogs.com
DAVID SYLVIAN, ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL, LONDON, SEP 2003 & SEP 2007
Finally I would get to see the artist of all artists’ but what a colossal disappointment on both occasions.
What I remember? No sooner had I sat down next to Gerrit (who runs a fan site) did he tell me the first part was Blemish in its entirety. Already I was disheartened. And so it was a text-book lesson in anti-climax. Four years’ later my curiosity got the better of me and again he disappointed but that’s the downside of liking an artist; they are the painter and the painted and highlighted my earlier mistakes. (see regrets below).
Photo Credit: The World is Everything – Gerrit at www.davidsylvian.net
A-HA, ANALOGUE TOUR, CARDIFF INTERNATIONAL ARENA, DEC 2005
MAGNE, MORTEN AND SAVOY, ROYAL ALBERT HALL, LONDON, MAY 2008
Who Supported? Tina Dico (for the Cardiff gig)
The last night of the Analogue tour and it pretty much showed; professional yet somehow lack lustre.
What I remember? Morten going through the motions, saying little, walking from side to side and flexing his hulk like figure. Mags calling us lazy sods for not participating in the chorus of Take on Me. Unlike Sylvian, things were a lot better a few years’ later. Performing as individuals and briefly as A-ha seemed to work better and I had a press pass for the after show too, a first for me.
LORRAINE, PA, BARFLY, CARDIFF, 2006??
Who Supported? Two abysmal bands!
What I remember? Lorraine (so named after Marty McFly’s mother in Back to the Future) were another Norwegian wonder. Unfortunately they got screwed over by the record company and fate changing their name to Black Room. This was a PA of only 6 songs, very peeved that night as I had to sit through two bands that were nothing like them! A few Depeche Mode Playing the Angel t-shirts in attendence.
NO-MAN, BUSH HALL, LONDON, AUG 2008
Who Supported? Can’t remember there being one.
No-Man performed a rare three date tour, this was the London show.
What I remember? Nice venue, quite fitting for a band of No-Man’s ilk. Reasonable set list. Very fortunate to catch them, great to see Ben Coleman involved for Things Change. The accompanying DVD was fabulous more so for the documentary, Returning.
Photo Credit: Carl Glover from no-man.co.uk
BAT FOR LASHES, ROUNDHOUSE, LONDON, OCT 2009
Who Supported? Yeasayer
My only gig at the legendary Roundhouse.
What I remember? Security guy, predicable tool. Support band – why? Couldn’t wait for them to finish to be honest. BFL very good, venue was great, Natasha looked rather lovely. Suddenly it was time to go home.
LEZA CORBAN, CORPORATE GIGS, SKYTOWER, AUCKLAND, VARIOUS 2010/2011
In NZ you’re a little limited for choice. Fortunately there is some talent that’s worth seeing for free!
Leza is a laydee and a soul singer who guested on Strawpeople’s Sweet Disorder and Scared of Flying. Since then she’s been wise to avoid the bargain bins and only does corporate shows, smart woman.
What I remember? In similar circumstances to John Foxx above, some left one of Leza’s shows to catch Bon Jovi at one of Auckland’s stadiums. I however was staying put. How all of this came about is a little strange and has probably been documented somewhere, definitely in my YEAR AMID WINTER book. Long story short, devoid of work again there wasn’t much else to do but loiter round the sky tower like a stray pup and lo and behold the wonder woman warbled before me.
Nowadays in China seeing a band at all is scarce and depends on whether they have insulted the Chinese by singing about somewhere beginning with T…. or meeting someone beginning with D.
This rules out seeing Radiohead and a host of others. Hong Kong occasionally gets a green tick but I’ve yet to see any shows there.
REGRETS OR THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY…
JAPAN, VISIONS OF CHINA TOUR AND SONS OF PIONEERS TOUR, LONDON, 1981/82 *no gigs in NZ or Wales.
Who Supported? Blancmange (VoC tour) Sandii and the Sunsetz (SoP tour)
Just the wrong age at the wrong time in the wrong part of the world.
Photo Credit: http://www.nightporter.co.uk/pages/japlive.htm
THE POLICE, ZENYATTA MONDATTA, TOWN HALL, WELLINGTON, FEB 1981
GHOST IN THE MACHINE AND SYNCHRONICITY TOURS c1982-84 *no gigs in Wales, so probably London.
Who Supported? Penknife Glides (Welly)
The right time and place but a fear of loud music or rather being stuck in such an environment meant concentrating on buying records instead. I think my sis (the right age) may have seen this gig and also had the limited green vinyl tour edition of ZM.
Not sure who the support was, there were plenty of local bands about at that time but I can’t say I remember the Penknives. I think either The Knobz or Dave McArtney (who I found during research for this piece is no longer with us) and whose ‘Remember the Alamo’ was fabulous would have been a good bet. Kudos to the Penknives though, they got a dream ticket supporting one of the bands of the new wave era and whose body of work still holds true.
What about the Millennium Stadium (Cardiff) in 2008? I think I passed on this due to financial concerns, a dislike of crowds and the fact it wasn’t the early eighties – I didn’t want fake nostalgia and figured the DVD would be a satisfactory experience.
Photo Credit: Zenyatta Mondatta poster and Ghost in the Machine from sting.com Synchronicity from eBay.
SIMPLE MINDS, NEW GOLD DREAM TOUR, WELLINGTON, OCT 1982
*there was also a CARDIFF SHOW IN NOV 1982
Who Supported? China Crisis
Like Japan I was aware of them but it wasn’t til around ’84 or ‘85 that I got NGD so it’s a latter day regret rather than one of the time. Fortunately there is some video evidence courtesy of You Tube.
Photo Credit: simpleminds.org.uk
ICEHOUSE, PRIMITIVE MAN TOUR, TOWN HALL, WELLINGTON, NOV 1982 AND MAN OF COLOURS TOUR, LONDON, 1988
Who Supported? Not sure about the Welly gig but DO RE MI for the London show.
In the latter instance, it’s a case of ‘if only’ I’d known about the backpacker scene then. Still to this day I’ve never seen one of my main bands who only tour Australia and sometimes NZ. The only quandary now with a lot of my faves is, is there any point? In Icehouse it’s really only Iva, the classic line-up, if there was one, has long gone. Likewise with fellow Aussies Boom Crash Opera and Cock Robin who both have new line ups and play in far flung corners of the earth. I would pay to see Peter (Kingsbery) though.
Photo Credit: Primitive Man tour poster – eBay
TEARS FOR FEARS, BIG CHAIR TOUR, SYDNEY/BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA, JULY 1985
Who Supported? Don’t know.
As mentioned at the beginning. I arrived in Sydney on July 29. I saw a poster for the show taking place that very evening wrapped around a lamp post but daren’t mention it to my father (who was driving and who had paid for me to visit from the UK). A few days later they played Brisbane just as we were leaving and from there they flew onto Japan. A case of the stars not aligning. Back in Sydney a new film opened called Back to the Future. Still waiting on that time machine. Until then I must consult the internet.
Photo Credit: eBay
COCK ROBIN, GRAND REX, PARIS, APR 1990
Who Supported? Don’t know
The right age but prior to the internet there was no way of knowing what date or time plus the expense of getting there – though it didn’t stop me going to France for a CD (documented in Paris and Peter K blog). The video of this show is fantastic! Great version of Born With Teeth with feisty Anna and the Mariachi Horns supporting. At the time of writing I don’t think this show has gotten to DVD. As an appendix of regret, any of the Peter Kingsbery solo shows but especially early 1992 in support of A Different Man. The first couple of Peter’s tours really were solo; just him and a piano with a band line up for the latter nineties shows (mostly in small French venues). The other reason to catch him live is like David Sylvian there is often material which doesn’t make it to album release and many cover versions.
Photo Credit: discogs.com and BIG thanks to my friend Severine in France for all the info. I remain in debt and very jealous!
HALL AND OATES, NEWPORT CENTRE, DEC 1990
Who Supported? Don’t know.
Yes! Incredibly (remember what I said about bands only going there if…) the last night in the UK/Europe before heading back to the States and this was before they’d ever played Dublin so a major coup for Newport along with a-ha, Depeche Mode and Bowie’s Tin Machine. Still how the hell I could manage to make The The and not see H&O is staggering when I’m easily a bigger fan of the latter.
The set list seems to be an abbreviation of their London shows omitting most of their few UK hits; no Kiss On My List, Private Eyes, I Can’t Go For That or Maneater! So I would have probably been content yet disappointed. It does however go to show the strength of their catalogue that they can leave those off and still do Out of Touch, Say it Isn’t So, Sara Smile and You Make My Dreams!
U2, ZOO TV, EARLS COURT, LONDON, MAY 1992
Who Supported? Fatima Mansions.
U2 at their brilliant best, dramatic reconfigured and firing on all creative cylinders. They haven’t been able to match this album since and I don’t think they ever will.
DAVID SYLVIAN AND ROBERT FRIPP, ROAD TO GRACELAND, LONDON, DEC 1993
DAVID SYLVIAN, EVERYTHING AND NOTHING, LONDON, OCT 2001??
Who Supported? Michael Brook (Graceland tour), n/a for e+n tour.
Though the future would allow me to see Sylvian and Fripp as separate entities, my impoverished student years’ forced major errors and regret in abstaining from what in my opinion were the best shows of Sylvian’s career. Both tours visited distant cities, both were learnt via CDs and both proved what I missed out on. Seeing these artists’ apart was average, seeing them together with support from Brook and Pat Mastelotto would have been close to everything, instead my naive woes got me next to nothing. However I would be interested in a show in the vein of Uncommon Deities should it materialise.
STELLAR, SHEPS BUSH EMPIRE, LONDON, 2002 and SALE ST, AUCKLAND, OCT 2010
Who Supported? The Feelers in London, none in AKL.
My name was on the door list but alas having moved back to Wales, there was no juice left in the coffers to rally back up the M4. There was a chance of catching their last performance in Auckland in 2010 but again fate conspired against me.
Photo Credit: Mark Roach from audioculture.co.nz
KRAFTWERK, TATE MODERN, LONDON, FEB 2013
Who Supported? Don’t know (I am guessing no-one).
This would probably have been the electronic equivalent of the ZOOROPA tour. Apparently they played Hong Kong the same year, Scheiße!
Still possible if they can hold it together and if time and circumstance align.
DEPECHE MODE, GLOBAL SPIRIT TOUR, PGE NARODOWY (NATIONAL STADIUM), WARSAW, JULY 2017
Who Supported? Maya Jane Coles
This one is a bit of an oddity and would have been my first post-China outing and first gig in nearly a decade. In the digital age I actually saw the concert on You Tube (albeit shot from Stockholm). In Warsaw only one week prior to the show, I knew of it but without a ticket end up on the outside of the stadium not knowing if it was allowed or whether the police were going to come along and say something or worse. In the end nothing more serious than a few eager mosquitoes (the stadium is close to the river) and a couple of Polish guys speaking to me and my not knowing what they were saying. The good thing is that the stadium is right next to a train station so I used the experience to shoot some imagery of that.
What I remember? It seemed to go really quickly, also a lack of posters around the city.
Photo Credit: My own shot from You Tube and Live Nation Polska.