I went to a gig on Tuesday.
First one since I came out of hospital. Yey! Go me! Look, here’s a photo I took to prove it:
Knowing that I had missed out on all of the gigs I mentioned here, my lovely work colleagues chipped together (coerced/encouraged no doubt by Kay) and bought me a load of credits on Ticketmaster so I could buy some new tickets to new gigs.
The Lemonheads strolled into London town on Tuesday, playing at the Kentish Town 02 Forum, a band I’ve loved for many a year, so I decided the time was right to go gigging again.
But when I tried to buy a single, solitary ticket, I wasn’t able to. I had to buy two.
Putting aside for a moment the obviously scamming nature of this transaction, suddenly, I found myself with two tickets and with nobody to go with.
And then, I remembered.
Many years ago, before Llŷr got ill (I think – but certainly when we both shared a place in Cardiff) we had bought tickets to see them perform their wonderful It’s a Shame About Ray album at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. We were supposed to be accompanied by a chap I worked with, and had been to a few gigs with, but he had to drop out at the last minute.
“Take my ticket, see if you can get anything for it, but if not, no worries,” he said.
We were crashing at Hel’s flat post-gig, so it only seemed right and fair we offered the spare ticket to her first, free of charge. But she declined on the grounds that she didn’t know enough of their songs. Fair enough. It’s not like we thought she’d been a member of The Lemonheads fan club or anything.
By the time we got home post-gig, Hel had realised the error of her ways, and told us she wished she’d come with us.
Well, now’s your chance to make up for that, I thought, and gave her a ring to see if she wanted to come with me.
For Llŷr’s post-memorial service reception, Hel and Sian had compiled a couple of Llŷr-related playlists (more of this later), and Hel told me that she’d loved to come to the gig, as she’d included two songs by The Lemonheads on the playlists. I needed warning, in case she got a bit upset if they played them.
These are the two songs in question:
Yeh, chances are they’ll play those, I thought.
I had one in mind too. Every time I had ever been to see The Lemonheads, or Evan Dando on his own, with Llŷr, he had insisted on calling our friend Mikey G when this particular song came on, because he knew it was his favourite:
Hel and I went for some food before the gig, and we agreed we would look out for each other when/if any of those songs got played. Neither of us wanted to be a blubbing mess, but we both knew it was a possibility.
And then, a curve ball. Hel told me that when she went into Llŷr’s room at her parents’ house, the CD on the top of the pile, and therefore probably the last thing he was able to listen to, was a Lemonheads one. Consequently, she had listened to little else since.
And then I’d called, asking if she wanted to go see The Lemonheads.
Life and death are weird, I think we can all agree.
The support band on Tuesday (no idea what they were called, sorry) were very sixth form revolutionary – though we quite liked their last song – and then suddenly Evan was on stage, clutching his acoustic guitar and singing this:
Quickly followed by a rendition of Frank Mills and then we’re in, singing along and totally enraptured by Dando and his loveable slacker persona.
Dando loves a cover version, to the point where any gig you go to of his is bound to include more than a smattering; indeed his latest album is a second collection of the such. On the night, he plays some which feature on the new record (John Prine’s Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness) some which don’t but he treats us to anyway, namely Townes Van Zandt’s I’ll Be There in the Morning (I’m delighted at this point that both have previously appeared on this blog and I can show off that I know them) and this, which the crowd (including me) loves, even if it is an Eagles cover:
There’s even truncated versions of Teenage Fanclub’s It’s All in My Mind and (I think) John Lennon’s Oh Yoko, which neatly segues into this:
Which contains one of my favourite lyrics ever:
“I can’t go away with you on a rock climbing weekend
Oh, and they did their wonderful cover version of this:
And then…and then they played Into Your Arms quickly followed by Rudderless.
We got through them both. Just about.
I didn’t call Mikey G.
We didn’t cry.