A self-indulgent look back at the gigs of my life
Since I started Loud And Quiet in 2005 I’ve been in a very fortunate position, where I get to go to a majority of the shows I like for free. I’m not saying I can get into Madonna’s secret show at MOTH Club, but if I fancy Teleman at The Lexington, I can put in that call and, 8 times out of 10, I’m in. I consider it a privilege, but for me there has always been a small downside to having your name crossed off a list by the door – you don’t get an physical ticket. I know, ‘boo-hoo’, right? But I enjoyed collecting them, and recently found my folder (it’s a photo album, actually, fellow hoarders), of most of the shows I saved tickets from. Here are a select few and my lasting memories from the night in question, to give you an idea of how much a band could charge for an hour’s work back then and just how excellent my music taste has always been.
Michael Jackson at Wembley – July 1997
I’ll get this out of the way now, because it’s starting to bore even me. The truth is that I still trade off the fact that the first show I went to was Michael Jackson. I’d grown up listening almost exclusively to ‘Bad’ (fast forwarding ‘Liberian Girl’, which seemed to be about love – zero interest to a boy of 5 or 6). At Wembley, for Jackson’s ‘History’ tour, my childhood hero entered by bursting through the bottom of the stage in a spaceship. Of course. Cue pandemonium, all the way back to Block 224, Row 11. The door finally fell off the space ship to reveal Jackson, who stood still for another lifetime while people down the front actually fainted. By the time he started singing and dancing, St John’s Ambulance were completely fucked. I also remember how later in the show Jackson performed his new single ‘Scream’ – a duet with his sister Janet. I thought it was strange that Michael had made Janet sing her part from off the stage, but seeing as it was definitely Janet’s voice I was hearing on her verses, it was the only explanation. Still, I didn’t care – I’d finally seen Michael Jackson, and for just £30.50 of my mum’s money (she drove). You could hardly buy a decent suit for that in 1997.