Sorry 'bout the delay, too little sleep on Friday (due to being over excited!) made me end up feeling quite poorly over the weekend, but here's the report!
Hubby and I had decided on Wednesday night that it wouldn't be a good idea for him to come with me to the gig, as he's been having severe leg cramps for a few months now. So I invited a friend of mine to take up my spare ticket. Throughout Thursday and Friday we made our plans via email. I told him Onetwo were supporting, explained who they were (and that I would possibly be an embarassment as I have their album and know most of the songs) and I sent him the link to their MySpace page. First thing he said, even before hearing anything by them, was 'Thank god for that, a decent support band. Usually it's some unknown shite band'!
I asked my boss if I could leave work early and he agreed. So, my friend and I made arrangements to meet at the venue at 5:30 - 2 hours in the queue, but plenty of time to catch up as we haven't seen each other for ages. I left work at 4:15, got back into town at 5:00 and walked up to the venue. I expected it to take a good 25-30 mins to get there, but by 5:15 I'd arrived! There were only about 10 people in front of me, so I was really pleased! I thought we were guaranteed front row... unfortunately I was wrong! Once we moved into the foyer we formed two queues at the entrances. Trust me to pick the wrong one! When our doors opened it became obvious that the others had opened a short while before us. Most of the people on the front row I hadn't even seen in the queue - I was a bit annoyed at that, but I was 2nd row, and right in front of Paul's lovely Roland. So far so good, almost to plan!
I have to admit that I was quite surprised at the set up though. There was a big curtain with a mic stand in the centre of the stage and a Roland with Apple laptop on each side. Only one had a mic, so that was obviously Pauls! But the thing that surprised me was that we could just about see part of the main set poking out from under the curtain, and the curtain was so close to the front of the stage that the front foot of Paul's mic stand was just hanging off the edge of the stage! If I'd been front row I could probably have just about reached over and touched it! And there wasn't much space behind the synths and mics! I know that the Auditorium is a smallish venue, but I had no idea just how small that stage is!
Anyway, there we all were, waiting patiently for things to begin, getting hotter and hotter. I'm sure they put the heating on in that place to try and make everyone buy more drinks! Then the guy who plays live with Claudia and Paul popped on stage putting out water bottles and making sure everything was set up. There was a guy in front and just off to the right of me who'd been to another show this tour who shouted out 'It's Onetwo!'. He popped back off stage, the lights went down, and then he came back out, followed by Claudia and Paul. Poor Claudia nearly tripped over that bit of set I mentioned poking out from under the curtain. But, with a bit of assistance from Paul, she made it safely across - while the audience politely applauded. Paul introduced themselves as Onetwo (no mention of OMD or Propaganda - which is fair enough), said something on the lines of 'Crikey, it's very cramped up here' (which got a laugh, because we were very cramped down there too!) and introduced the first track - Theory of Everything (although he didn't mention the 'Part two' part of the title, but those in the know knew as soon as they started playing). I, being the mad fool I am, cheered really loudly as soon as he finished saying the title - and I think I was almost the only one in the whole place who did!! I'm sure that Paul looked at me, acknowledged me and smiled - almost with a look of regconition (seeing as I was in virtually the same place as when I'd caught his eye with my Air Synths playing back in June!)... A woman about three across to my right in the front row turned round and said "D'you like this one then?" "Oh yes, it's one of my favourites!" I replied excitedly - I think I'd marked my cards there and then as being there as much to see Onetwo as Erasure! Not that anyone minded - thankfully! Anyway, I sang along to every song off the album, whooped and applauded every intro and every song and bascially probably made a bit of an idiot of myself! But the best was yet to come on that score!
After Theory they moved into Kein Anschluss, the moment the brrs of the telephone started I just smiled broadly and nodded my head. Then Paul introduced Signals, saying "this one's in English" which got a bit of a laugh from everyone. After that it gets a bit hazy for me on the order, but they played (I think in this order) Sequence, Duel (which Paul introduced by saying that with Claudia being from Propaganda it wouldn't be right to not play this one! I think that was the only mention of either one's other bands), Club Country (with Paul explaining that they'd made a promise to play a Billy MacKenzie song everytime they play live this year), Cloud 9 (which got a big cheer for the mention of Martin Gore co-writing it). By the time they played Duel the audience were really getting into their music, and to be honest that probably got the biggest applause after - in fact Claudia actually looked almost embarrassed at how well it had gone down! She really seemed to appreciate the applause. And it was well deserved! She sounded wonderful that night - and better on Duel than I remember it! Oh, and that answered my question about which Propaganda song it was I remembered!
I can't remember if they played Vision in the Sky or not, there's a nagging voice in my head saying yes they did, but then there's another voice saying no!
Anyway, by the time they came to the end of the set there was quite a strong 'Noooo!' and 'Ohhhhhh' from the audience, which seemed to really please Paul & Claudia. Paul said "You really are too kind" and continued by introducing their last track, Home and I just shouted at the top of my voice 'YES!' and punched the air! The silence around me at that time was almost deafening! I could've sworn Paul looked straight at me and smiled and I just put my head down looking more than a little embarrassed! A lady two across to my left this time on the front said "I take it you like this one then?" "It's my favourite one on their album" I replied! At one point during their set I'm sure Claudia shot me a look too - and not a bad one, more of an acknowledgement of a fan, a thank you sort of look. And that was it. They were finished and leaving the stage, to great applause from the audience (after having, of course, told the audience they can buy the album from the band's website). It was over all too soon, and a part of me couldn't help wishing that they were the top billing for the night! Claudia had sounded wonderful, Paul had been fantastic on the synths, (and as you'll see from one of my pics he was really feeling the heat too - as he mentioned at one point, to much agreement from the masses!), and the other guy was brilliant on the guitar. I really can't describe how perfect they sounded. Not a single duff note from anyone, and to have the pleasure of hearing all those tracks I love so much from the album live was incredible. If Erasure had been a disappointment I would still have had a wonderful evening!
As Onetwo's kit was being cleared, 'the other guy' (as he's become known) came out to help. He grabbed the laptop on his synth and one end of the synth, and as he and the roadie carried it off I shouted up to him 'You should send Paul out to get his one!'. He just laughed and shook his head with a sort of 'You'll be lucky!' look. I can't believe I let myself go like that - and without the aid of alcohol!
So... after another wait around finally the main part of the show started. And Erasure were phenomenal. I'd only ever seen a live performance on VHS before, 'The Circus' tour. So I had an idea of what to expect, but wondered if they'd really live up to my expectations. Well, this is one person who really wasn't disappointed by anything that night! They were really on form. The show was fantastic. Andy was cracking jokes, the backing singers were beautiful and did their job brilliantly, and Vince was - well... Vince was Vince! He's sort of developed this Kraftwerk non-emotional, non-moving act to a tee. But every so often he does something a bit unexpected - like bringing a can of beer out, and interacting with 'Mint Sauce' (you'll have to watch my video of Oh L'amour to see her!)... and cracking a smile and laughing at something or other as he left the stage for the costume change! Oh, and the costume change was very neat! Personally I loved the music and could've just watched an empty stage without any bother, but they have these video screens and all of a sudden this long message starts appearing on the screens to keep everyone amused! Their set was a nice mix of tracks from the new album and a good selection of the classics to keep fans like me happy! And making me even happier, Vince got the guitar out for Sometimes and one other oldie (can't remember off the top of my head which one!). The audience really enjoyed themselves, it was such a great show. Plenty of sing along moments too.
In the end I took quite a few photos - well, in reality I took about 4 times as many as I got. I was having problems with the borrowed camera again, this time the thing is so old that it's probably on it's last legs. It seemed that I was cursed! Everytime I took a really good photo of Claudia or Paul the damn thing would refuse to save it, and in the end I only have about 5 good ones! That's the problem with having such short time for a support act, and I don't think the lighting helped either! Being so close to the front of the stage, and bearing in mind that the lighting is set up really for the main band, it really wasn't perfect for photography. I was so busy fighting with the damn thing that I didn't think to grab my phone and video anything they played! I seemed to calm down and get my head into gear more for Erasure though, and I recorded clips from Ship of Fools and Blue Savannah for my hubby (they're his two fave Erasure tracks) and I managed to record the whole of Oh L'amour for myself. I'm really quite pleased with those, they're quite steady (bearing in mind that I had to hold my phone in the air to get them, because of avoiding heads in front of me!) and the sound quality is excellent! Hubby watched them on the computer and said he could hear me singing along on Oh L'amour, but only because he knows my voice so well, and we could both make out me whooping at the end of it! I got loads of decent pics of Erasure though, mainly because I'd got to grips with the camera more, and also because the lighting was so much better!
Once the gig was over, after Erasure's single song encore (have to admit that's the first encore I've ever seen with just one song!) of Stop! everyone started filing out. I turned to my friend and said 'Shall we go round to the back door and see if we can get autographs?'. To my amazement he agreed! So, we headed straight for the back doors... I hadn't had time to dig out my tapes of The Innocents and Wild! that morning, so I only had my ticket for Andy & Vince to sign, but I'd also brought my CD of Instead, just in case Paul & Claudia were still there!
I actually had the nerve to go up to one of the security guys and ask if Onetwo were still around! Apparently they'd gone ages ago (which I'd sort of expected). We still stuck around - I texted hubby to say 'We're loitering!'. Then at about 11:20 Andy & Vince came out. There were quite a few people there, and they both made sure that everyone who wanted an autograph and/or photo got what they wanted, and they had a word or two for everyone. I got Andy's auotgraph and photo first, and said something about 'thank you for a great birthday night'. Andy said "Glad you enjoyed it", then I scooted over to Vince and seem to remember garbling something about it being my birthday, how much I'd enjoyed myself that night, and that it was a fantastic show (I know that when I get excited - and I was very excited then - I talk reallyreallyfastlikethis and my native Kent accent comes out more... my Dad always says I sound like a country yokel being played on the wrong speed!) Anyway, Vince obviously got the gist of what I said at least, and said "I'm really glad you enjoyed it, thank you so much for coming to see us". And then after the photo that was it... we headed home. One thing I noticed was that most people were more interested in Andy than Vince, but me being me was most chuffed at meeting Vince! Ah well... that's us Synths fans for you! lol They're both really nice guys too, they have a lot of time for their fans, and are one of those bands that treat fans with respect.
Got home about midnight, barely ate and barely slept because I was so excited, and I've been on a high ever since! One of my neighbours relatives was round there today when I popped in to see her, and he said "You're still buzzing now! I can tell!" Everyone at work was really chuffed for me too today!
As predicted when I heard Onetwo were supporting, that was definately the best birthday of my life! It could only have been bettered by meeting Paul & Claudia and getting my CD signed!
And so to the photos!
I'll be putting all my Erasure pics on my own site sometime tomorrow, but until then here's a taster:
And the icing on the cake!
And my videos:Blue SavannahShip of FoolsOh L'amour (featuring Mint Sauce!)
BTW.. here's a question for all you YouTubers! How the heck do I get my videos in the search results? I put in keywords, a decent description and title, and yet nothing! And someone else has uploaded videos from the same gig, a few hours after me, but theirs appear (tbh theirs are pretty crappy.. camera goes all over the chuffing place!)