All the gigs of my life

All the gigs of my life: Gig 130 – Suede, Saturday, October 8, 2016, Butlins, Bognor Regis (Rockaway Beach Day 2)

Screaming at Suede by the seaside: a perfect Saturday night in October.

One day I’ll take a pic of Brett singing live which isn’t blurry

As I’ve mentioned in many of my Suede gig reports, I used to suffer from a kind of curse that scuppered my plans every time I had a ticket to see Suede. I’d managed to break free from this curse in March 2016 when I watched them performing outside the One Show, but here at Rockaway Beach in October I witnessed my first proper Suede gig in fourteen years. So my diary report from this gig is one of the more excitable from my later years, beginning with this exclamation:

‘Can you believe it? Dtf for Suede!!!’

I must remind readers that when I write ‘dtf’ in my diary, I mean ‘down the front’ and not… oh wait.

‘And, given that I found myself groping Brett’s sweaty skinniness whilst hollering “stop taking me over!” I mean that in EVERY sense.’

Well, can you blame me?

‘Curse of Suede is SHATTERED into OBLIVION!

As am I.’

The sheer unmatchable thrill of the Suede live experience was something that I hadn’t experienced for a long, long time, and feeling that force again was a revelation.

‘Oh yeah. I knew this would be a great night, but even I did not imagine that I’d be there, DOWN the flippin’ FRONT – is that a first, for me and Suede? – and jumping and shouting and screaming, reaching out fervently for Brett whenever he came near, and basically hollering like a lunatic at every opportunity.

The only difference between this crowd, and crowds at Suede gigs in the late 90s, was the slightly reduced crush. The outright heaving screaming obsession remained unaltered.

And the only difference between me tonight, and me at Suede in ’97 or ’99, was NOTHING.

My god! That relentless barrage of classics, tune after tune igniting explosions within, “Moving” and “Trash” and “Animal Nitrate” and fucking “Filmstar”!!! and I felt like shouting I was there at the fucking video shoot for this!! except probably so were everyone else here tonight.’

This was a gig of highlight after joyous highlight. Only Suede could make me feel like I was 22 again.

‘Singing along to “He’s Dead” and those immortal lines, “all the love and poison of London”, so very Suede and so very ME, I have lived that love and poison every single day for nearly twenty years. Only Suede could remind me why I need it so much. Or hollering along to the rousing chorus of “My Dark Star”, or “So Young” – and with Suede we are still so young, for they have remained so, and we can spin together in eternal youth.’

And of course, in true Scruffy style, it was time once again to revel in the Wonder of Brett.

‘Oh good lord. Brett! I want whatever he’s on. That energy, as he leaps and dances his spindly-hipped dance, so inelegant and unmanly, so damn perfect.

Select moments:

  • Brett swirling the mike round on its lead in a terrifyingly huge circle, narrowly avoiding decapitating the front centre crew or indeed Simon, the most gloriously un-health’n’safety thing I’ve seen for YEARS
  • Brett singing the verses of “I can’t give her what she wants” away from the mike like some kind of opera star
  • Brett curled on hands and knees, singing into the mike on the floor for the last verse of something or other
  • Brett, generally

I’d had many moments of admiring Brett from my spot in the crowd at previous Suede gigs, but I had never experienced him quite so up close and personal as I did this night.

‘Oh and “The Drowners”, THE fucking DROWNERS, yeah Brett was at the barrier several times, revelling in our groping, and then he only wanders into the crowd and carried on singing, ending up a few rows behind me, as I helpfully held up the mike lead, well it was that or risk strangulation. GOD this band, this glorious mess, oh how we need them more than ever in these sanitised times.’

Needless to say, I was thrilled to be back in the world of the Suede live experience, and couldn’t wait for the next one to come.

‘So the curse is broken! A new dawn of glorious Suede gigging is upon me! Except it isn’t, as Brett told us that this will be their last gig for two years, they’re going into hibernation to make a new album and will resurface some time in 2019.

Oh, for FUCK’S sake.’

Luckily for me, I didn’t have quite that long to wait, with less than two years passing before the era of “The Blue Hour” started and I saw them at Rough Trade East and the Hammersmith Apollo in 2018, as well as the rousing Brandaid show in 2019. Their 25th anniversary tour for “Coming Up” has of course been postponed twice now, but I have all my fingers crossed that I will be seeing them again in November. And after the year and a half we’ve all just lived through, I have no doubt that that gig will be an almighty emotional and cathartic celebration, and I can not wait.

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