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Thursday, 7 March 2013

A Gig and a Half.

I flat out LOVE music; hearing it, playing it, seeing it, feeling it.  Consequently I love going to gigs - which, now that I'm eighteen, is a lot easier.  I've been to intimate "rehearsal space" gigs, I've seen bands play in theatres and cinemas, I've been to huge and small music festivals, I've witnessed bands light up a pub stage, I've even stood in a foot of mud to see a band play under a big top, but nothing can compare to the show I went to recently.  You could say I got a bit of a shock.

So, I was at Festival Hall... Which is a fairly large venue.  It was an all ages concert, and literally all age groups were covered in the congregation that arrived to see Ed Sheeran.  Waiting to get into the venue was overwhelming enough for me; for starters it was about 35 degrees, and with hundreds of excited girls and guys this made for an interesting atmosphere.  Once my friend and I got into the venue, we found a spot near the front to sit down for a while, waiting for the supports to start; that was fine.  However, once the intro music started for the first support act began...Madness ensued.  My friend and I were separated in seconds as anxious teens rampaged to get as close to the barrier as they could. (Keep in mind it was incredibly hot and there were hundreds of people in this room.)  People were pushing and shoving, and it was all getting a bit close and personal.  Now I've been to festivals before, so I can deal with a bit of pushing and shoving, and being a bit close for comfort with people I don't know, but this was different altogether... The only way to describe it was intense.  Even comparing this rampaging mosh pit group to a festival crowd is a bit of a stretch, because frankly, it was worse.

And then the music started.    The thing I was looking forward to, the whole reason I had made the trip, was beginning.  A lovely songstress by the name of Gabrielle Alpin began singing, but you couldn't really tell, because it seemed that three quarters of the punters in the venue were talking.  Now I can put up with a lot of things, but people talking while someone is performing is NOT one of them.  Honestly, how would you feel if you were on stage bearing your soul and people just talked the whole way through... Not cool.  Despite the trying conditions, Gabrielle was phenomenal.  By the end of the first support, it was starting to heat up, and people just kept getting closer and closer together.  Air was at a premium, and if you wanted water, well... that wasn't going to happen.  Passenger arrived on stage to a much more friendly welcome, and he seemed to command the audience more... Or they might have been saving their energy for Ed, (I'm not sure), but by the end of his set I had had enough hair flicked in my face, people shoving me backwards in order to get a better spot, and people talking through genuinely good music to last me for quite a while.

Long story short, I high-tailed it out of the mosh pit (before I passed out or vomited or both), and to be honest it was the best decision I made all night.  Not only could I still see the stage perfectly, (I happened to be taller than most of the people in the venue), I could hear and appreciate the music more because I wasn't worrying about starstruck teens.

Ed Sheeran, I have to say was absolutely stellar.  It was just him on the stage, but he captivated the audience.  He had them singing and dancing along, he made them quiet with a simple "shhhh," and at one point he had the crowd so quiet he was able to sing acapella with no microphone.  It was absolutely stunning.  I now have so much more respect for Ed as a performer after seeing him build backing tracks  - recording vocal/beat loops on an extra mic, using his guitar as a drum and bass - as he went, all while keeping the audience wanting more.  He literally had the audience smiling for the whole hour and a half he played for.  Honestly, a perfect end to an interesting night.  Despite the mildly shocking/overwhelming events that occurred earlier in the evening, I really enjoyed the whole show and all the performers were fantastic.