Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Crosby Stills and Nash - Manchester 21st September 2015

Venue - Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Gig Buddies - Stephen and Phil
Gig Booty - None, I'm still skint from my last gig!

I don't think I've been let down by a CSN live show since the first time I saw them in 1992. Last night was no exception (once the sound settled down after the first song sounding like we were in an empty warehouse). First thought as they walked on stage was how great Croz is currently looking. This makes me happy as he makes such lovely music and I want him to carry on for a good while yet.

I went to this gig, tired and achy and wondering if I'd make it the end but I needn't have worried, these guys have the power to lift me right up and by the end of the gig I was buzzing from the show.

So many great moments, but I've picked out a few highlights -

 - I love Southern Cross so getting to hear it live is always a bonus.

 - Graham dedicated Our House to the youngest member of the audience, who was seven.

 - There was a good helping of newer stuff from everyone. I particularly enjoyed the Stephen Stills offering Virtual World.

 - Almost Cut My Hair was epic, as usual.

 - The nod to George Harrison in Suite: Judy Blue Eyes at the end. (Stills plays a bit of With In You With Out You)

Some of the audience took a while to warm up, but others were very enthusiastic. I think the two girls dancing on the front row were sat near me last time I saw them at the Manchester Arena.

I'll leave you with some pictures.

King Crimson - Salford 11th September

Venue - The Lowry, Salford
Gig Buddies - None.
Gig Booty - Two shirts, a tour book (with two CDs) and a badge set.

I still feel like I'm struggling to find the right words to describe the experience but here goes -

I'll be honest, it had never crossed my mind that I'd have a chance to seen Crimson - I'm reconciled with the fact that a lot of the people I like are either retired or no longer with us - so when it was announced that a new incarnation of the band was to play my home city how could I not leap at the chance? (And my actual home city, not Manchester for a change!)

The Lowry is very plush and purple inside and, at least from the perspective of being seated downstairs, it feels very intimate. I was at the side of the auditorium, a handful of rows from the back and it was still a good view. At this point I am compelled to point out how fab the audience was around me. The gentleman who ended up sat in front of me was pretty tall and he actually took the time to ask if he was obscuring my view too much and tried to sit as low as he comfortably could. I can't recall that ever happening at a gig before, at least not with someone I didn't know. (Tall friends at standing gigs usually let me stand in front of them)

Back to the gig - the stage set up was a tad different to most gigs. The three drummers were lined up on the front of the stage and rest of the ensemble was on a riser along the back, including Robert Fripp who spent the whole gig perched on a little chair appearing almost oblivious to the fact there was an audience most of the time.

At a lot of gigs, three drummers would have been overwhelming, especially in a small venue like this, but the sound was stunning in both the emotional and technical sense. The interplay of the percussion was fascinating to watch.

The audience around me took it all in with not much more than an intake of breath at the recognition of a favourite track or an excited hiss of quick whispers during the applause. Mesmerising is the word I keep coming back to about the experience. The was no idle chatter from the stage, no faux banter, just the music.

A friendly announcement at the beginning politely requested that technology be put away for the duration, and largely it was. There was a small flurry of attempts to grab a quick snap on mobiles while the band took their applause at the end of the night but other than that the wishes of the band were mostly respected.

A more than satisfactory setlist, a truly astonishing performance and a very appreciative audience made the whole thing my favourite gig of the year so far.

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