My heart is heavy with the news that my friend and music blogger, Tim Hall, passed away recently. Through his infectious enthusiasm he introduced me to so much music that I may never have stumbled upon otherwise.
I remember him asking if we could meet for a beer before his work took him down to Reading. We joked about meeting people from the internet and which one of was going to turn out to be the axe murderer.
Seeing him lost in the music at the couple of gigs we both attended brought home just how much the music meant to him, as did his writing and his social media interactions.
It seems such an alien concept that won’t see another tweet or blog post from him, or spot him at a concert.
Venue – Manchester Arena
Gig Buddy – Paul J
Gig Booty – Trooper Beer T-shirt and bar towel
This was an interesting gig. It’s been a good few years before I’ve even attempted to be at the front of a standing gig. Usually at the Arena I opt for seats just to be able to pause for a little while and rest my weary bones, however this time around I ended up with a standing ticket. My original plan was to leave my gig buddy to get himself down the front while I hovered at the back where there was space and just hope to be able to catch a glimpse of the show on the stage. Then Paul got picked for First To The Barrier Wristbands. What can I say, I had to give it a chance. I reasoned that if it became too much I could just duck back and revert to the original plan. It turns out that I stayed there at the front (off to the side, I’m not insane) for the whole gig and got to see the show from a completely different perspective than usual. Largely ignorant of the vast crowd behind me, it was brilliant to get to see the band up close. We were right below one of the pedestals so Bruce would often appear right above us.
About a third of the set list was from the latest album, Book Of Souls, including the title track. The rest were a cross section of well known songs, all very much appreciated by the die-hards down the front. Theatrics included Eddie’s heart being ripped from his body, offered in sacrifice and finally flung out into the eager audience. The energy from the stage was almost tangible at these close quarters. I may have ended up with sore feet and back ache but it was worth it to see just how much fun seems to be had on the stage. Plus the negatives were definitely out-shone by the sheer joy of enjoying the music. I still can’t believe this was my first gig of the year, I know I’m starting earlier next year, no fear!
As you may be able to tell I got some reasonably good photos on my little camera, and although it seems like I took a lot I really did spend most of my time taking in as much of the show as I could. The interplay between everyone on stage was entertaining and this is a band that knows how to work a crowd whether you are at the front or at the back. Bruce leapt around the stage with such energy that I was knackered just watching and it was good to see that the recent health scare hadn’t taken any of that performance away. Maiden is always good value for your ticket money and this show was no exception. If fate decreed this to be the last time I get to see them live, I couldn’t complain. It was an amazing night.
June sees the 50th anniversary of the release of the Sgt Pepper LP and the It Was Fifty Years Ago Today documentary by Alan G Parker will be out to celebrate the fact. Visit the film website for details of showings and pre-orders are already available via Amazon UK for the DVD/Blu-Ray release in July.
This is the moment the regulars pop over to see who’s back and when they are playing, and to begin research on the artists we aren’t familiar with. May isn’t far away and logistics need working out.
IPO Liverpool is one of my favourite times of year, it’s right up there with Christmas. It means there’s a large amount of friends in the city and there’s a whole bunch of music to enjoy.
I am ducking out of the Saturday of the event this year, but I do have a note from my mum. This means I’ll miss seeing a few acts I would normally be there for. However the Minty and The Beeb Go Gigging Blog offers fabulous reports on the whole shebang every year.
Looking back over last year’s posts from the event, they ended up a little ramshackle as I tried to “live blog” events. I totally plan on trying this again! Apologies in advance for that! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a glance at the posts from May last year. I shall endeavour to be a little more detailed this year. I may even take notes.