David Gray made his first trip to play in Southend last night and I was there with my daughter Liz to see the maestro in action. I’ve been a fan for a fair while although its been a while since I’ve seen him live – last time was I think for Hold the Line tour at the Hammersmith Apollo. Liz saw it was on and booked the tickets which were a nice surprise.
Liz must have been one of the youngest people at the show – which was a fully seated affair – with most people in the ‘middle aged’ category. Liz has developed a liking for Mr G having heard me play his music so often. Good for her for coming. I don’t think she enjoyed it as much as some gigs she’s been too like American Authors last week.
We had reasonable seats in the stalls near the back but to be honest anywhere in the Cliffs is a pretty good view. There was one row behind us and it was the occupants of that row that took the shine off the gig for me (and Liz I think). I took a small number of not very good photos which I’ve included – the venue were really hot on people taking pics.
The support came on at 7.30 but it wasn’t the advertised John Smith but another fellow with a rather nice steel guitar whose name escapes me. I liked what he played and the guitar was glorious but he did spend rather a long time between songs tuning it which broke the flow a bit but hey-ho. He did an interesting version of Prince’s When Doves Cry which was pretty good.
So during the support a very loud bloke in the row behind talked incessantly to his friends which was annoying but okay – it was only the support so I let it go but thought he was going to be trouble. Before the main event arrived I actually said to Liz that I was likely to sing along and that if I was getting too loud to poke me. I’m thoughtful you see.
Mr G arrived on stage just after the 8.55 published start time and launched into a great rendition of his current single Birds of the High Arctic including a lengthy instrumental at the end. Lighting was brilliant and the opening went down really well. Mr noisy behind was very loudly singing along unlike anyone else.
Birds was followed up by six more tracks from the Mutineers album which are great songs but I feel he could have mixed a few others in there. Mr noisy behind continued to sing along and could be heard above Mr G most of the time making me increasingly annoyed. He didn’t seem to pick up on my occasional half turns and so after a while I had to turn around and ask him to turn it down a notch. He said he couldn’t help it. Yeah right.
Now most people would apologise and do as asked but not Mr noisy. He just carried on bellowing out and talking and laughing and general being annoying during the quieter songs. It was okay later when everyone was singing and standing. Maybe it is just me getting old but I was there to enjoy the music and spent much of my time with my eyes closed.
David reassured us that the older stuff was coming and as promised My Oh My signalled the start of a louder pop-ier remainder of the show which included Babylon, The One I Love, and Please Forgive Me. I particularly enjoyed Alibi and Fugitive.
A few solo songs were performed too including Shine during which he managed to forget the words much to the amusement of both him and the audience.
And far too soon the show was over save for the obligatory encore which included This Year’s Love which is one of my faves of his with the most excellent Nemesis closing the show.
The band were on great form and it was show fully of energy and passion with Mr G bouncing over the stage with his guitar and belting out the slower numbers at his piano. Classic David Gray.
Just a shame about Mr noisy.