How not to do a gig

When I think over all the festivals and gigs I’ve been to over the course of the summer, some stick in my mind for being amazing beyond belief and others for being an abomination to that which is music and artistic performance. However one sticks in my mind for being the worst of the lot, that one was the weekend series of “The Stone Roses” reunion gigs in Manchester. The one which I attended was the Saturday performance. For all the hype and love for this weekend I saw, I felt the need for the musical community to have a reality check. This is my slap around the face of the musical community.

When I mark a festival or a gig I use three separate criteria – stage presence, music performance and whether the gig had “it”, that little something special that make your hairs stand on end and you shudder in delight at the remembrance of its brilliance. I’m telling you now, The Stone Roses score zero on two of them and average on another. So let’s dive straight into it with my first complaint upon arrival.

The Stone Roses in Manchester

Who is gonna smuggle drugs in cheese sandwiches, some fruit and dandelion and burdock pop? Apparently someone who looks like me who is attending a Stone Roses gig in Manchester. I offered to separate with my sandwiches, give them a sniff of my pop and justified that nobody in their right mind would try and make fruit hallucinogenic. But they were having none of it. However I saw their struggle, after all Manchester is one of the biggest drug cities of Europe and it was, I thought, used against everyone. So I tried my hardest to eat my food as fast as I could and drink my pop, but I was told to get rid and hurry up or I wasn’t coming in. So I ended up chucking it. This would have bothered me a hell of a lot less if a group of middle aged women right behind me didn’t bring in a whole freezer box full of food and drink, they even offered the guard to check it upon arrival, just like I did but he said that they didn’t look like they would do or sell drugs. This infuriated me, discrimination and unfairness in the first 5 minutes of a gig I was whole heartedly looking forward to. I was annoyed to say the least.

Now, I am a proud believer of buying official merchandise if possible. Its supports the artist and keeps the wheels and cog of live musical entertainment rolling. However with official gig programs at 10 to 15 quid, T-shirts at 20 to 30 quid and Tote bags at 10 quid each, even I was amazed, frustrated and flabbergasted at such prices. I ended up spending fifty quid on merchandise and was not happy about it, you may say “oh they didn’t force you too so shut up” but no I won’t. I like buying stuff, it holds memories of these musical experiences that I can look back on and cherish, I’m not being forced to stop this because of greed organisers, musicians, artists and bands everywhere who complain about how hard it is to be on the road touring and that they need money for their art. However in the case of The Stone Roses I find this highly improbable. But I was still holding out for the, once, great band (for now anyway).

Oh and a word of warning to the hungry gig goer, those Ostrich burgers may look tempting but at seven quid for a dry, chewy lump of dead bird in a bun I wouldn’t recommend it. They were a contributing motive in fact for my official renewal of Vegetarianism.

Let’s skip to the bands shall we. We start off (because I missed the first act) with”Professor Green” and all I could think about when watching him was “What is he a professor of, being bad at the wrong gig at the wrong time?” It was, in the nicest possible way, the worst choice of support act imaginable and I wasn’t alone in thinking that with all the people around me yelling “You’re w*nk” or “You’re sh*t” pardoning my French. He snarled and yelled into his microphone and not much else, plus an artist who feels the need to give me a lecture on why they’re so great and amazing and handpicked by The Stone Roses themselves isn’t worth my time of day I am sorry to say.

Next up was the reggae fun guys “The Wailers”. They were a damn site better than that green tripe from before, however I was left wondering after their slow, monotonous, seemingly meaningless music why they were there. What did they contribute? What was their relevance to this gig? And what is that guy behind me snorting? Good but pointless.

The last support act at last, which in my eyes, was a beacon of hope in this desolate pit of chewy Ostrich, pushy crowds, poor music and pointless acts. It was of course Liam Gallagher’s post-oasis venture “Beady Eye”. Although in a new band he still played some old “Oasis” classics like “Rockstar”, “She’s electric” and “Champaign Supernova”. They were fun, bouncy, full of Liam Gallagher swagger and most importantly they had great music alongside a great stage presence!

But that is where, once again, it goes downhill. This gig was situated right in the middle of a massive park however the organisers managed to take away all the room from the fans. I was being crushed against the barrier that was separating us mere mortals from the rich and roomy VIP area which was massively out of proportion to its purpose. Granted they paid a little more but we all still paid a lot for a ticket and we should have been given more room, the VIP area wasn’t even full, plus because of this area we were miles away from the stage it was ridiculous.

Then they came on and the only real word I can use to describe them was, OK. Nothing great, nothing too bad, it was fine, unspectacular, average at best. They wondered around the stage with not much charisma and it was so damn quiet! I could hear people about twenty feet around me talking and coughing and because of its pathetic volume everyone was crushing us more from behind to try and get closer.

Let me make this clear, I have never left a gig early ever. Till this day, I had to, the music was hardly audible, they were boring on stage and the audience was filled with morons that punched, kicked, started fights and acted like they weren’t even bothered with the band on stage, but I can’t really blame them, they must have been annoyed and very bored. So I pushed my way out with great difficulty and didn’t look back.

Then I checked my bag and found all my expensive merchandise plus more had been stolen. I hated this gig, I can barely believe that the organisers, band and audience could fail so much. This was a perfect example of how not to run a gig.

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