Monday, 9 July 2007

Well I'll be Burgered.

While we're on the subject of old people, I went along to Twickenham stadium to see Genesis last night, with a handful of chums.

Sadly, Genesis haven't persuaded Peter Gabriel or Steve Hackett to join the reunion: Gabriel's off around Europe playing all his old songs and giving his long-term fans what they want, while Hackett's (sadly) finding it hard to get arrested these days.

Unfortunately, the Genesis crowd seemed largely made up of people who know the band primarly through Phil Collins and the band's more syrupy ballads from Invisible Touch and We Can't Dance.

Now, I may be grouchy about this, but I'm happy to sit there and listen while the band play their more 'poppy' songs. After all, everyone's paid their money and each group of supporters should be allowed to hear their favourite tracks.

But what I found really annoying was the pair of fools sat in front of us, who decided that every time Genesis played a song they didn't recognise, they would stand up, forcing the entire row to stand, shuffle off slowly (but talking loudly) to replenish their alcohol and nicotine levels. Fifteen minutes later, they were back; having fucked up "Afterglow" for us, here they were to shuffle along, gurning and giggling inanely to ruin "Ripples".

Why you would pay £60 for tickets to a gig, then watch/listen to less than half the set, preferring instead to spend over the odds on watered down fizzy pop...?


But on the whole, the concert was good. From where we were sitting, the sound tended to be a bit muddy during the loud, bombastic, old, epic numbers (the ones our gang like), but not too much to spoil things.

Highlights for me were "Mama" - very crisp and a genuinely disturbing turn from 'cuddly' Phil Collins - and the slightly overlong (but superbly arranged) drum duet with the segue into "Los Endos" - surely this should have been the final piece of the entire show? As it was, the show seemed to end on a bit of an anti-climax with "The Carpet Crawlers" - a great song, but I felt that we were too far from the stage to be part of the emotion of the piece.

[I can't help recalling a small-scale Genesis gig at Southampton's Rose(?) Theatre some 15 years ago - "Carpet Crawlers" then was a superb highlight. Big stadia just kill off a real connection to the music, I think.]

I'd just like to pause a moment here to talk about the catering. Martin queued up to get us all some food - we all ordered the same thing, to make it easier: four cheeseburgers. When we started to eat it, I discovered that my burger had no meat in it. Just a bun filled with shredded lettuce, onion and sauce. A burger-free burger. Cheek! Anyway, Martin kindly shared his meaty feast with me, and I (even more generously) let him have half of the empty burger in return. But really! If you're in the business of selling burgers to the public, surely you should appreciate which one of the four key ingredients you could leave out without disappointing the paying punter!

And finally, a moan about South-West Trains. Heading into London from Twickeham would have been no problem. There were about 8 trains an hour - even at 11pm on Sunday. But heading west...! No way mate. Only 4 trains an hour, 2 of which were of no use to the majority of people. Approximately 2,000 people queuing to try to take the westbound train. We left the stadium around 10.30pm. The 10 minute walk to the station took 30 minutes because of poor signage and stewarding to the stadium exits and the huge crowds heading towards the station. Then an hour long queue to get down onto the platform. I finally got on a train at 23:55.

I also managed to get separated from my compadres in the melee, so they arrived back at the car in Staines about 20 minutes before I did. I eventuallygot home (thanks Andy!) around 1am, but Lord knows when the others got back. Andy had another hour's drive down to Southampton and the others were zooming round the M25 to Kent, so they probably got in around 2am too...

It's all very well telling people to take public transport to these events - but maybe someone needs to consider getting the train companies to put on additional services. Or maybe the train companies need to wake up to the fact that Sunday is no longer the 'day of rest' that it used to be and that the same timetables should be used all week long?


jomoore said...

1. What about the mobile phone photographers? That's been my biggest bugbear of late at concerts...

2. I like the fact that you used the word 'stadia'...

3. You got the vege burger...

Chris said...

You grumpy old sod...... you're getting as bad as me!!!!

Allen said...

I would love to see Genesis live -- even if they only played the "hits." You're right though, they're a very different band without Hackett and Gabriel.

Still... "Mama." Seeing and hearing that live would have sent me through the roof. And a pox on those a-holes who ruined "Afterglow."

Fourth Side Dead,

Chris said...

See this for another write-up, Pete: