There is nothing like a live gig…
A selection of concert tickets I managed to save from 1992, and what an amazing lineup it is! Some are missing, like Roy Harper for instance, who I have seen live at least once a year every year since about 1975.
You may not be able to make it out very well but the Royal Albert Hall ticket is for Paul Weller, who I would go on to see live for just about every London gig for some years to come. I first saw him with The Jam at a Rock Against Racism carnival in Victoria Park, Hackney in 1976. In 1991 I thoroughly enjoyed his comeback as The Paul Weller Movement and that first amazing EP single CD, Into Tomorrow – every track is f**king brilliant.
As you may have guessed I spent a lot of time at the Brixton Academy – our local venue of note and walkable from my flat on Brandon Estate. I have spent many happy hours there, even the really trippy ones like when Roy Harper supported Ozric Tentacles; that was a weird night and perhaps a story for another time.
Another of the Academy gigs I thoroughly enjoyed was David Byrne; whoever chose the font for the ticket should be shot at dawn every day for a fortnight! The gig was almost entirely taken up by every track from Rei Momo. It was not only a great musical experience with an amazing (and huge) band, but also a great learning experience, as David provided colourful anecdotes for all the latin genres explored during the evening – merengue, cambia, samba, mambo and so on.
I remember David Byrne facing quite a lot of criticism at the time because he recorded an album of latin music that was not, somehow, ‘real’. As a result Rei Momo was pretty much overlooked at the time and probably almost unknown today, which is a great shame. At the time I thought this whole nonsense was an absurd form of musical snobbery that could also potentially be levied at Ry Cooder and other notable artists, simply because they explored ‘roots’ music and incorporated it into their own styles. To me great and interesting music is just that; where someone has taken two or more musical styles, mixed it with their own and created something new.
The Charlatans were without doubt my favourite band of the 90’s, and I must have gone to just about every London gig. They still sound great now.
One particularly memorable night, for reasons I cannot go into in a post such as this, was Ronny Jordan at Ronnie Scott’s. His first album is still in my top 50 of most played albums even now. I was a member of Ronny Scott’s at the time and on this particular evening took along a lovely woman by the name of Elaine, who had never been to Ronnie Scott’s and certainly never a gig like this. Like me she thoroughly enjoyed it. If we ever meet in a pub I might confide in you the other reason this evening was so memorable…