It’s always interesting to see how a band looks to define themselves on stage. Some like to show a united front, all in a belligerent line at the front of the stage, some like to hide away in the dark and others just like the front man to do his stuff. Suede are in this final group , to the extent that at times this gig felt more like a Brett Anderson solo event.
He was the only one in the spotlight in every sense of the word, at least as long as the poor bloke on the remote spot light could keep up with him. The absolute centre of attention, he was in and out of the crowd, revelling in the adulation and the good-natured near-mugging he got every time he made it to the barrier; and he spent a lot of time down there.
He’s been around the block few times and the legendary dragon chasing of his youth shows in his face but he is like the proverbial racing snake. He kept the pace up all the way through charging up and down the stage, star-jumping into the pit and racing up and down the barrier. Although he seemed destined for a good scragging each time, he emerged unscathed, if a bit more sweaty. As it turned out, the people getting physical with him were the regulars, who he thanked at the end of this the last night of the tour, for their dedication and for learning the words to the new songs and giving good voice to them as well.
There is always a danger with any long standing band that their gigs can be reduced to a “best of” compilation. Yes all the hits were there, Metal Mickey, Trash, The Drowners, Animal Nitrate, So Young and the rest, but they managed to get a decent response to their new material and even included Modern Boys, which had never been played live before.
Through all of this Brett Anderson was the consummate showman, winding the crowd up for the next sing-along- “let’s do it!” — before plunging into the front rows again. You get the feeling that this is part of what defines him now; this is his territory, his place, and he had them eating out of the palm of his hand.
From the moment that he slipped onto the stage the atmosphere in the crowd of forty-somethings, sprinkled with the odd vampire or zombie, changed totally. Support Teleman didn’t manage to improve the mood of what seemed a sombre crowd. Their first tune was interesting but the next seemed to be just more of the same, in the same key, at the same tempo and you could feel the wave of indifference and chatter roll towards the barrier from the back, the longer that they went on. Maybe Halloween had got to everyone.
On the other hand Brett Anderson knew what he could be up against, entreating the crowd during the quiet numbers to leave “talking about Eastenders” until later. Most complied but there was still that minority who are at every gig. They leave you thinking as to why they bother spending the money in the first place. If they want to talk they should go to the pub. He wasn’t fazed by any of it, and seemed to love every minute on stage. He made a big deal of telling everyone that a proper tour was what the new album was all about and that the odd festival appearances here and there just hadn’t been “doing it” for them. It may have been the last night of the tour but it sounds as if there may be a lot more to come.
It Starts and Ends With You
Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away
Killing of a Flashboy
(first time ever played)
The Wild Ones
The Living Dead
For the Strangers
Photographs – Stephanie Colledge
Words- Ian Gelling