Yesterday started with breakfast on the Royal Mile - a clear bright day - with gingiber, anonymous_seth and fabalafae. This was at about half-past ten, and about an hour later (after a leisurely breakfast) we climbed into the car and headed south to Cameron Toll to pick up some go juice (both senses) and other odds and ends. After that, the A702 across to the M74, turn south and follow that then the M6 to Brum, with a stop at a caff in Westmoreland with amazing scenery and a frozen duckpond. We got into Brum, finally, at about half-five without too much trouble and parked over the road from the venue - named, like one in Glasgow, after one of the country's more prominent urine-rebottlers. We had to find a hotel near the Bullring to meet Adele's bloke and a mate, which took us all of ten minutes. On the way back we decided to have a quick bite and got back to the hall soon after the doors had opened.
It was a nice place inside, with a big balcony over the ground floor. There were two merch stalls. Lara shelled out for the DVD (yes, they were filming last night, so certain gurning idiots *cough* in the front row can expect to have their faces recorded for whatever the expected lifespan of a DVD is). The story is that they were hoping to have the fastest edit process in history and have it on sale by 9 this morning. Lara's will be posted to her. I just got a Tshirt.
After one drink and a time spent hanging around failing to see anyone I knew, we went and hung around the stagefront. The support band came on at about quarter to eight. Allegedly they're someone's little brother's band, and sounded quite like Coldplay, except (crucially) awake. As Adele put it, they didn't rock but they didn't suck either. I didn't buy their demo, but I didn't think they embarrassed themselves either. Stateless, they're called, apparently. Personally I want a band in that line to be as good as Clearlake before I like them, and they weren't that good, or that lively, but maybe it'll come.
After about half an hour of that, and half an hour of guddling about on stage, the house lights dropped, all the other lights threw fits and five blokes wandered on and kicked arse for a while.
That's it, really, in a nutshell. They rocked, bigtime, and did all the ones I wanted to hear. They've obviously been hoarding the energy they've not been using from the last few years to make sure they didn't run out, and they didn't waste much time talking - it went straight from one well-remembered song to a half-remembered song and back to a favourite again. Fantastic. It was very sweaty down the front, and quite pressured. I was regretting having something to eat quite soon, although I did manage to stop it from making another appearance. I've got bruised shins and sore ribs from the barrier, and of course my left ear's still ringing. There were about seven cameras floating about (maybe eight if we were right about the thing on top of the speaker stack) and loads of crowdsurfing (I can't remember of Clint said there had been more or less the night before, but there certainly wasn't a shortage).
A full setlist is probably best scraped off the DVD - I'm sure the details will be online later - but they kicked off with Dance of the Mad and ran through about an hour and three quarters to finish with Beaver Patrol at half-ten, with not a dull moment in between. This, I suppose, is the benefit of not feeling you have to plug the new album. During one of the encores Graham got back on the drums for some very old stuff, and he did extra percussion on one song from the main set. Apart from that it was business as usual. He reminded me strongly of hirez, except that I can't quite picture John with a spiral perm.
I don't really know what else to say. It was fantastic. I couldn't believe how fast it went. In no time at all it was an hour later and they were winding up the main set. The breaks weren't long (but were filled with chants of "We like the music, we like the disco sound") and they played right up to what I assume was the line at 10:30. Getting your money's worth in terms of time and inensity - you can't complain, really, can you? Well worth 600 miles to see.
Anyway, so they finished, we left, and Adele left Cheesy Al (due to see them tonight) a voicemail telling him that they'd sucked incredible amounts of arse, they'd had no energy, most of the set was from some upcoming experimental album that promised to be dreadful, they were on and off stage in forty minutes and it was a total waste of time. Then she left him another one admitting that she might have been lying slightly. How we laughed. We laughed and laughed and laughed until we stopped. Then it was just a four-hour drive home. No problem. I took over for an hour or so to give Lara a break between Westmoreland and the A702 turnoff, and then grabbed a little sleep until we were back. In bed a little after four, still dosed up on Bru and adrenaline so I didn't sleep too well, and in work this morning. With a bad arse, but after last night, I don't care. I think it might have been something I ate on Saturday, actually. Still, it didn't get in the way of a good time.
Sadly, my attempt to photograph the setlist before they came on failed because Lara's camera wouldn't do autofocus accurately enough and there wasn't time enough to work out the manual focussing properly . . . bloody autoeverything cameras. You know where you are with a focussing ring. We did actually get a picture, but not a readable one.