OK…this is going to prove controversial so have your righteous indignation at the ready. For quite a long time I haven’t really liked going to rock festivals. In all honesty I haven’t really haven’t liked going to any kind of gigs at all.
I thought about this as I watched these poor deluded thousands who convinced themselves they were having a good time at Glastonbury. It’s not just festivals though, it’s so many live events. I know what you’re saying – I shouldn’t be saying this – but I’m afraid it’s true. I have to go to more gigs than I really would care for. Often it’s to see acts that I may or may not end up working with. occasionally I’ll see something remarkable but very often it’s roughly what I’d half expected it would be and very very often I know I’ve missed two good hours when I could have been watching re runs of Bilko.
As I write this an email has just popped into my in box inviting me to a a gig by an artist I admire a lot. Will I go? Will I cocoa. It’s in Edinburgh. It involves travel and parking and not having a drink as I have to drive and if I do have a drink I have to queue at a bar and I know very well (as my pal Gary Clark once correctly observed) there is a very nice rider in the dressing room which I am not getting access to. If you think this is being a little over fastidious you should know that I’ve been quoted I wouldn’t go to see David Bowie (an artist I hold in the highest of esteem) if he were playing free in the park across the road if there was something decent on the telly.
People often say to me to tell them if we’re doing a gig near their town. I never do. If you phoned me to tell me you were doing a gig in my town I’d be most annoyed. Going to gigs I want to go to is difficult enough. I’m not going to start going to gigs I don’t want to attend. Some naive person recently emailed me to encourage me to see his offspring playing…..I think not me old mate.
Why do you say all this, Rick old pal, I hear you mutter. You who likes Jonny Punter to shell out his hard earned drinking vouchers to buy tickets to see your own beloved rock n soul gatherings. It’s because I’m experiencing that nagging thing that got old St Paul into all sorts of soup – a conversion. Not, you understand, an undiluted desire to get my soles sticky in Nice n Sleazy, but definitely a stirring in the old shoes to move out of the door.
It happened a few months ago when I decided to go to see Kris Kristofferson. I realised that a) he was one of the greatest living song writers and b) There are gigs which can totally change your mind about everything you ever thought you knew.
So I am thinking – against all my better judgement – of going to T in the Park? Am I mad? Probably, but for once there are one or two acts I really want to see and doing the radio show every night means I now can’t see something even if I desperately want to. I really would like to see Al Green, but what’s the point if I have to leave early? The other reason I’m going to T in the Park (or thinking about it…I’ll probably change my mind) is I can take my daughter who is keen to go. My brother in law and I are planning to take the weans who will go off to see some ghastly band or other while we have a quiet beer and get ready for Brian Wilson.
Going to see Sir Brian made me review my line about gigs. He’s 65 now so I can’t imagine he’s going to be touring too much more so I think I need to make a bit of an effort. His show (and his brilliant band) are the main thing that made me change my mind. So when I look at the list of acts on at T in the Park I also note that Rufus Wainwright is playing and so are Arcade Fire……wait a minute this festival thing is good, you can see a lot of acts all in the one day. I know, I’m getting carried away again. I’ll let you know if I ever make it