Thursday, July 07, 2011
So its been a while since i saw the show! 10 or more days and 5 or 6 shows. I moved into my new apartment last week, 250 miles north of where i was and had to miss the last couple of shows in Europe.
I was driving down to Birmingham so left the house around noon and arrived “Brum” around 2pm, past an horrific site on the way. Traffic was going real slow for about 1/4 mile and it soon became evident why. A BMW X5 was on fire on the other side of the motorway and just as i passed it started to get engulfed with flames! all the traffic stopped on my side of the road and i saw the 3 people who’s car it must have been sat on the side of the road unable to do anything but watch their car go up in smoke! i couldn't believe how quickly the car went up in flames, within 20 seconds of me watching it it was a total fireball!
I parked the car up in Birmingham city centre around 2:30 and headed down towards the venue to find the pub where everyone was meeting up from 3 o clock onwards. Matt and Kevin were due into New Street station around 3pm, Matt from USA Brain Damage podcast site and the other Matt from the Brain Damage UK site were due later on in the afternoon too.
When i left Huddersfield to drive down the weather was hot and sunny, it was starting to rain and humid here so i found the bar and headed in to get a drink and sit out of the rain. It was only a shower so i made my way out to a balcony which overlooked one of the canals in Birmingham and chilled out.
Birmingham has Hollywood style stars on the pavement!
As i sat out on the balcony i spotted Mark from Liverpool, he was going for a walk around the venue with his wife and son Eric and would come back shortly for a drink. Matt from Guildford arrived along with Neil whom id last seen at the New York show late last year.
Kevin called to say he had just checked in the hotel and Matt from the US arrived shortly afterwards with his friend Barry. My friend Jason and his dad whom we had seen at the last Manchester shows arrived, and by the time everyone was there we had a good 12 or 15 people hanging out outside the bar. The bar was buzzing with single females, groups of them! i wasn't aware till Neil told me that Take That were playing at Aston Villas ground tonight and then the penny dropped, that’s who they were there to see! A couple of people had mentioned they had been caught up in traffic on the way to the venue due to some of the 60,000 people that were due at that show!
Matt from the UK brain damage sited arrived and both Matt's were introduced. two Matt's, two Brain Damage sites, two countries and two great guys.
Matt Johns and Matt Leonard
I went in the venue around 7pm, had a chat with Robbie for 10 minutes and then went to find my seat for the night, i was front row centre for tonight, it wasn't like i had to look and find out where it was but i just wanted to have a sit in the venue and soak in a little of the atmosphere. Kevin’s family were coming to the show tonight and i was looking forward to meeting them, he had gone off to meet them, everyone else slowly made their way into the venue and as i sat chilling out, a guy came up to me and asked if i was Simon, i was and i told him so. it was a friend called Wes who I'd exchanged a few emails with but never met. We chatted for a good 20 minutes and i tried my very best to persuade him to come to Manchester the next night. He’d seen 12 of the shows if i remember rightly so he’d seen more than most but tonight would be his last (for this year!)
Wes at his last show of the tour
I went over to meet Kevin's family and i could instantly tell they were all related, how ? well just look how many beers they are all holding in their hands!
Adam (Kevin’s son), son in law, sister, Kevin and his other son Nick
I was sat on my own tonight front row centre, the two Matt's were sat with Barry on the right side about 12 rows back, Kevin and his family were in the 2nd block back on the left on the 2nd row, he joked that if i saw 5 seats free next to each other let him know.
I had a 5 minute chat with Shane, my friend on the crew who does the pyros and he said Roger had added something to the 2nd set tonight, he wouldn't tell me what it was but told me when to watch and to see if i noticed, Shane, if Roger’s watch was an hour ahead there would be more than just me noticed!
The show started more or less dead on 8pm tonight, the crowd roared as Roger came onstage and from then on i knew the crowd were gonna be “ok”.
First couple of tracks came and went and when the kids came out onstage during Another Brick, half way through their 2routine” they all turned around with their backs to the audience and had single white letters on the backs of their T shirts that spelt out the words “FEAR BUILDS WALLS” this was the first(and last so far) time that they had had this and it looked kind of cool and Roger looked real happy as he lanced over at them.
During the first half I'd been sat on my own with a spare seat next to me the whole time, i also noticed 7 empty seats all in a row on the 5th row directly behind me, i couldn't believe it, what were the chances of that after Kevin saying what he did! Matt from Guildford came down to join me in the Empty front seat and Kevin brought his family to the 5th Row for the 2nd half.
I was on the lookout from the start of the 2md half for something different and it wasn't until the end of Comfy Numb that i noticed a new “structure” being loaded onto the stage in front of me. Roger had outdone him self this time and now had his own little podium with the crossed hammers signs on to stand on during the 2nd In The Flesh
It looked fantastic and Roger was even more elevated above the crowd now and he just looked so right standing there behind it playing the fascist character.
The crowd were still standing on their feet after Dave fantastic Comfy Numb performance and continued to clap and cheer the whole way through Run Like Hell. Rogers video director Sean came out to take pictures of Roger in his new podium early on Run Like Hell, Roger spotted him below in front of the stage taking pictures he held on to one of the bars of the podium and while grinning from ear to ear gave him the middle finger for 5 seconds, much to Sean's amusement and ours. I had told Marks son Eric before the show about a guy at one of the Berlin shows that stood up when Roger took his machine gun, Roger saw him and proceeded to gun him down! Eric was sat right on the isle about 2 rows back from me, i looked back at Ericand as Roger picked up his machine gun Eric stood up with his arms outstretched and waited for Roger to see him, he did and proceeded to shoot at Eric with the gun who in turn proceeded to move back and forth as though the was being shot!,it was fantastic and Erics face was a picture, i dont think he could believe the interaction that he had just had with Roger, it was pure elation
As has become the norm now a few of the crowd head down from their seats to the rail in front of the stage after the wall has come down and before the band come back on for Outside The Wall.This part is one of my favourite parts of the show, after seeing the band for the last 2 hours in their uniforms, with dark sunglasses, most of the time behind the wall and other times in darkness its great to see them all in the spotlight as they stand there onstage taking in the applause.
As i was driving home after the show i didn't want to get caught up in the Take That traffic that i would have to drive past on my way home, the second Roger left the stage i headed out the door, ran back to the car and gunned it down the motorway. There wasn't a car in site as i passed Aston Villas ground, the floodlights were still on at 10:55 so I'm guessing the show hadn't finished and i made it home for 12:30am
Another great UK show with some great friends, a great crowd and an excellent performance by Roger and the band.
Posted by Simon W at Thursday, July 07, 2011