On this cold wintery night with snow falling heavily and the roads being treacherous I was surprised the gig was still going ahead. My choice was turn back and sit in the queues or brave my way to iconic musical indie stars. Well…. We are here, unfortunately like many we missed the support act Ten Tonnes all we heard approaching was Lucy and a final strum and can we take a photo with you guys. The arena floor was probably only a few handfuls of rows deep at this point with approx. 10k more people still to attend. At 20:00 it was looking bleak.
So… the main event, were here, warm, and I am not thinking about that journey home. The stage is fairly high up probably 8-10 ft. high and if we were thinking this was going to be intimate, think again. The seats look full, though odd patches and the crowd on the floor appears full. That being said approx. 4000 were said to not be in attendance due to weather and not happy fans at that.
Thunderous roars and screaming fans greet Stereophonics as they make the way out and the fans fade to silence and into clapping as they open with Chances Are. The band power through two more softer mood setting songs, fans are cheering and clapping but lost in the music at this point. Kelly “How you all doing Birmingham, Thank you for coming out tonight” springs the fans to life, he then announces a track from Word gets around, More Life in a Tramp’s Vest.
Despite not seeing them having any recent tours they are very comfortable on stage. It is like they are in a little world of their own, as they perform some of these belters and it is a pleasure to see these guys after growing up to these tracks. For me, a little more interaction wouldn’t go a miss but for quality tunes played extremely well it’s a gig to remember. It should be, as I travelled the artic to see them and was overly content with the sound performance.
Have a nice day, such a cool tune and quite fitting, and we get told we are the best crowd of the tour, well for one we certainly had more will power than most to endure Storm Emma.
Kelly asks us to get our phone lights out for our chance to be seen and we hear stories about his first gig here at the Genting when he saw ACDC and this was his chance to be seen, now he thanks those for being there as he knows what its like.
Closing the main set on the stage is Indian Summer and Maybe Tomorrow, the first being very upbeat with the arena lit as such, the latter Kelly has the crowd singing the chorus out of his mouth. They quickly return to the end of the shunt to play some more for us which looks a little tighter space. They are with little movement and we have some fantastic older tracks including I wouldn’t believe your radio, Been Caught Cheating (a song he tells us was meant for Amy Winehouse but now is a tribute to) and Handbags and Gladrags as the crowd light up and burst into energetic singing and arms swaying. Finishing off here with a song Kelly tells us is a song “When I was a kid funny enough, about riding a bike, in the fkin snow” this highlights the great musicianship with lots of guitar riffs and pulls. The frantic plucking and face pulls combined with awesome skill, make the guitars squeal – it is truly awesome.
Back to the main stage to finish off the set is a much more upbeat livelier performance, Mr Writer belted out and the amazing Just Looking and Local Boy in a Photograph go down a treat. There is much applause and singing, a strong highlight for me is A Thousand Trees, that the crowd sing along to and are fully engaged with, it’s a shame there can’t be much left now. Though at this point the drums beat in and the guitars are muffled, with a heavily distorted boom into Kelly “Bartender and the Thief” which closes this section of the show with a segment of Ace of Spades within) as Kelly sings “The Ace of Spades, The Ace of Spades” as the guys quickly exit with guitars ringing “Thank you Birmingham” and fades to stamping, clapping and roaring we know there’s an encore.
We get Encores or Mr and Mrs Smith a song about hotel affair. “Maybe you guys can have a few tonight if you get stuck in the snow”, Kelly asks “how much time we’ve got” “ you’ve got time for one more…….then you’ve got to get out” and its Dakota – guitars, intro vocals start and the crowd sing along.
I loved the performance, they are an amazing band. They played tight, they are talented and while there wasn’t always something going on to look at, although the lighting is pretty at times, you can easily get lost in the music and gaze in awe and forget yourself. They definitely work for their keep though play a massive set of 26 songs both old and new, There is no denying attending this show was about great determination from everyone in the weather conditions – which can only be described as very dangerous, but maybe the call to go ahead was right as so many did actually make it here.
Until next time guys.
Caught by the Wind
C’est La Vie
More Life in a Tramp’s Vest
I Wanna Get Lost With You
Have a Nice Day
All in One Night
Graffiti on the Train
Stripped Set On B Stage
I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio
14 Been Caught Cheating
Handbags and Gladrags (Chris Farlowe cover)
Boy on a Bike (Acoustic)
Main Set Part 2
What’s All the Fuss About?
Sunny (Kelly on the piano)
Traffic (Kelly Acoustic Solo)
Local Boy in the Photograph
A Thousand Trees
The Bartender and the Thief (with segment of Ace of Spades by Motorhead)
Mr and Mrs Smith
<Cut from the setlist> Taken a Tumble
Reviewer/Photographer: Chris Bowley