Archive for the ‘Hammersmith Apollo’ Category



So I love Neil Young.

Have done since I first bought a Buffalo Springfield best of at 16, and then followed that with Decade.

And then the rest.

But being a fan can be painful sometimes.

Part of the Neil Young myth is the Tonight’s the Night tour in 1973.

A tequila-soaked Neil comes on to a crowd expecting some mellow Harvesting, only to hear a set of songs that sound nothing like the hits, and none of which they’ve ever heard before.

And I think all of us have heard those tapes and said, “Man, I’d have loved to have been there.”

But it’s not so funny to show up to a very pricey show 20 years later only for Neil to play all of the Greendale album.

To a seated audience.

If you get up to use the bathroom you’re not allowed back till the break for polite applause.

Only in the encore does Neil play some of the hits.

It was so frustrating. Not the evening with the school-friend and fellow fan that I’d wanted.

The whole thing is up on YouTube.

See if you can stand it.

High: finally hearing the opening chords of Lotta Love, one hour and 45 minutes into the show.

Drinking: go to the bar and get back in? You’d be lucky.

Thinking: maybe history will be kind to this tour. But who’s played Greendale in the last 15 years or so? Not me.


flaming lips


Because if you’d seen them on the Soft Bulletin tour, you’d be mad not to see them when they toured Yoshimi.

It was very much an album of its time, and the live show was rightly legendary.

We were close enough to see the sweat on Wayne’s face, but not close enough to have his hamster ball go over our heads.

They still opened with Race for the Prize, and they still played Superman.

But now they had Do You Realise too, and Golden Path which was insane live, and everyone – everyone – was deliriously drunk.

I have no idea at all who I was there with.


Superman. Always superman.

Drinking: double vodka tonics with the beers to minimise time on toilet breaks.

Thinking: you do your thing really, really well.

Why: I’d seen them before, (tickets posted when I find them) and they were amazing. They had become one of those bands when the tour is an event and so you had to go.

So we went.

High: Obviously, you can’t hear Superman without wanting to sing, weep, hold your hand to your heart etc.

For years now I’ve said I want Superman played at my funeral.

I should write that down somewhere.

Drinking: Vodka with ice. Lots of ice.

Thinking: You know what? You guys really want to change your stage act more over time. That’d make me happy, likewise SHUT UP ABOUT THE FUCKING IRAQ WAR and acting like you and your fans won it somehow.

I don’t remember you guys standing up to be counted like the Dixie Chicks on your home turf. Do you talk like that in Oklahoma? I fucking doubt it. Lovable you may be Wayne, but this is pandering to the crowd (and not in a good way).

Gig on Songkick

Setlist on

Why: Ah, the eternal dilemma of the middle aged – what to do on New Year’s Eve? So, with Sonic Youth playing locally (supported by Shellac!!!) I got three mates round and embarrassed my fiancee by doing a fuckload of blow over champagne at ours before getting in a cab.

High: The pounding sound of Shellac, and Kool Thing as the final encore.

Drinking: As above, champagne. Then lager. Lots.

Thinking: Why, why, why aren’t they playing a more populist set for NYE? Turns out it’s probably the last time I’ll ever see them live and there was no Riot, no Dirty Boots, none of the Dirty material I’d loved so much at college….

Gig on Songkick 

Setlist on 

Why: I never knew Nick Cave (other than the Mercy Seat) before I went to college where I met a guy who basically wanted to be him. The two of us played in a band together for a couple of years in the mid-90s but it didn’t work out (he wanted to be the Bad Seeds, I wanted to be Crazy Horse – I didn’t have the talent to be either; he still plays).

High: You know what? I look at this ticket and can’t remember a thing about the show. I remember a lot of Cave shows (posted elsewhere) but not this. Maybe I’m thrown by the ticket suggesting it was seating in the stalls (wtf?) but the reality is that it was a Saturday night in 2003, so I can only imagine the state I was in.

Drinking: Almost certainly beer before and vodka during.

Thinking: No, nothing there… Sorry…

Gig on Songkick