Last week, we went to see Alabama Shakes, a gig we had been looking forward to for ages. Yet for the first time ever, we left before the encore.
Yep, we became those people we hate. The ones who aren’t really music fans, the ones who watch a gig through their camera phone, sing along badly to the stuff they know but talk through the rest and the ones who leave before the end because they have a bus to catch / want to beat the queues out of the car park / are just too darned rude to stay.
It wasn’t that we had something more important to do, it was just, well it was just….a boring gig if I’m honest. Gosh, did I just say that?
It’s not that I don’t love live music. I have in fact been to some epic gigs in my time. I ‘sat down’ with James, the Inspirals and the House of Love in the Madchester of '89. I’ve been struck dumb with sheer delight at Radiohead’s legendary Oxford gig in 2001, wearing little more than a bin liner as makeshift protection against pouring rain. I’ve sung along to Yesterday with Paul McCartney and a euphoric crowd on the Kings Dock in Liverpool. I’ve seen David Gilmour, Roger Waters, David Bowie and Michael Hutchence all do their thang.
I’ve travelled to Amsterdam’s Paradiso to see the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, I’ve fallen in love with Elbow along with 100 others at a tiny gig at Bristol Uni, shared them with few hundred more at Oxford’s Zodiac and then squinted at them from a distance at the NEC in Birmingham (a soulless venue if ever there was one). I’ve had my eardrums injured by Muse. I’ve 'endured’ Jeff Beck on my birthday, I’ve grinned manically most of my way through a Jackson Browne acoustic gig, I’ve even seen the Rhinestone Cowboy himself.
I’ve seen Beck, the magical Sigur Ros, Doves, Deep Purple, Journey, Yes - hell, I’ve even been to a Robbie Williams show (sssshhhh, don’t tell my husband), and each of these gigs has been immense, epic and unforgettable.
Apart from two. Alabama Shakes (bad acoustics, little engagement with the crowd and frankly, quite a few songs that sound the same) and…..and this pains me to admit… The Eagles. I know, it’s very middle-of-the-road isn’t it, but yes, we once paid an exorbitant amount to see The Eagles (I am a bit in love with Don Henley) and waited a full eleven months for the date to roll around, only to then be bitterly disappointed by the pedestrian, cynical, over-rehearsed, under-delivered show it was plain to see they’d put on a hundred times before and didn’t care how obvious it was.
A bad gig is such a disappointment but still, leaving before the end? Forgive me father, for I have sinned…