Music adventures

Mini gig interlude: Suede at the One Show, Friday, 25th of March 2016

Although not exactly a gig, this was the first time I saw Suede perform live in nearly 14 years. After a long, long wait, finally my Suede curse was broken!

It’s hard to tell I know, but I promise that really is Brett Anderson’s back.

‘THE CURSE IS BROKEN! I AM FREEEEEE’

For what felt like centuries, I’d had some kind of curse on me when I tried to see Suede – sudden illnesses, unexpected travel or, occasionally, just sheer apathy would overtake me, and I would fail to make it to the gig. Here in March 2016, I’d most recently failed to make it to a Suede gig the previous November, when a horrible flu had scuppered my plans to catch one of their “Night Thoughts” shows at the Roundhouse.

But I’d just turned 41, and in midlife crisis mode, which put me in the mood to race across London to see my fave boys with guitars as much as possible – even if it was just one tune outside of the BBC studios. So when I found out Suede were performing their latest single outside of the One Show, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to break the curse. From my diary:

‘To Broadcasting House, where I joined the mini throng beside the little stage set up at about quarter to six. And at ten to six, when the band came out to rehearse “What I’m Trying To Tell You”, the curse was officially BROKEN! It was amazing to see them play live again after nearly FOURTEEN years and I might have been overwhelmed by it all had I not started to feel a little heartracy-dizzy-fainty. Come ON adrenaline, you’re supposed to be on my side! ‘

Fortunately, I was able to have some respite from the excitement of it all and recover while the TV bods prepared for that evening’s show.

‘The band went back inside then. so I spent most of the next hour sitting by the barrier and reading the NME. Around quarter to seven Alex Jones and Richard Osman (brother of Mat!) came out to record a little pre-show intro, and we all laughed as first the N, then the E and finally the O of the show’s logo fell over in the mild breeze.’

The next hour or so followed in a similar fashion of waiting and waiting, with occasional exciting Suede appearances.

‘Soon the band returned to practice their little introductory song snippet, and my heart skipped a beat as they launched into four bars of “Beautiful Ones”! By this time the mellow sunshine was was gone and we were back in winter, which was a relief as the cold air blasted away any faintness I was feeling. Finally 7pm came, Suede did their bit of “Beautiful Ones” for the zillions watching live on telly, and then were off as we waited with only a tiny screen showing us The One Show with no sound. Then! the end of the show! and Suede do their tune! and the mini crowd go wild! It was great and have I mentioned that “Night Thoughts” is really Very Good Indeed and I would happily have watched 100 more songs but that was it.’

So, finally, my Curse of Suede was broken, and since this night I have not missed a single Suede gig due to unforeseen circumstances. But my report didn’t end there! Long term perusers of this blog will be happy to hear that despite my advanced age, I still reverted to the true nature of Scruffy when I was once again in the presence of some of my favourite boys. The following day, I recorded for posterity a run-down of the general state of fanciableness of all the members of Suede in 2016:

‘8.27am, and I’m on my second listen of “Night Thoughts” for the day.

I now present the Boys of Suede in descending order of how well they have aged:

(1) Simon – ‘cos he’s the only one who came to chat to the crowd so the only one I got a decent look at, and he looks exactly the same as nineteen years ago so what’s his secret???

(2) Brett – still skinny and angular as he shakes it to the scene with a tambourine etc

(3) Neil – he was a bit distant, and confused me at first with his lustrous girlish locks, but all evidence points to his prettiness being intact!

(4) Mat – now looks like the dignified elder statesman of ROCK he was always meant to be

(5) Richard – mainly ‘cos he’s always seventeen in my head, so what’s he doing looking like a middle aged bloke?? And he always did have a look of some ordinary bloke who’d wandered into Suede by mistake, so not his fault, really.’

However, it was not all frivolity that Saturday morning. I had a little bit of regret to expurgate from my soul over all the Suede gigs I’d missed in my life.

‘I can’t help feeling a bit regretful, now, at all the missed opportunities to see them. Not my fault, always, but sometimes yes, I just didn’t try. How different the last six years might have been, if I’d taken all those opportunities to see them since their comeback, made them my focus as a Still Good Fave while the Manics floundered? Maybe a lot. Maybe not.’

Still, after a decade of relative apathy to music, this little jaunt to scream at Suede – even if it was only one and a smidgen songs – marked a clear turning turning point. It had been many long years since I’d raced out on a whim for a such a musical mini-adventure, and so I couldn’t help but feel positive that morning.

All I have now is all I’ve ever had, which is NOW. But this time I will grab it with both hands and make it mine.

And from that point onwards, as far as live music was concerned, that’s exactly what I did.

The guitars of Suede!

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