Queens Hall Days Two and Three
And off we set a second day, the weather still madly midsummer. We discuss some changes to the set as the Glasgow towers pass by looming over the road like sentries with a hundred eyes. Glasgow is a stupid twenty three degrees, Edinburgh a sane sixteen. At school in the seventies we were taught the adage; west coast wet and warm, east cold and dry but in recent years the rule has gone out of the window. Ten years ago I spoke with an American painter who’d been living in Tuscany for twenty five years. He told me that the climate there had recently turned on its head, the formerly cool wet winters now mild and dry, the hot dry summers strangely wet. The flora was unrecognisable from a September I’d previously spent in the area. What had been parched and pale yellow was now lush and deep green. The alarm bells have been ringing for fifty years at least. There’s a fire in the basement and we’re peering out from the roof of the ninety-ninth floor wondering where the fuck we go next. So here we are burning fuel along our daily route channeling our guilt and panic into the virtue of the work ethic which is no longer a virtue nor ethical at all. Perhaps we will be the only species in the universe to entertain ourselves to death.
We rehearse three new things at soundcheck, feeling last night’s show was a little short. Now it’s probably too long. I feel less fear-stricken than last night but my body is not handling the adrenaline surge well. I don’t feel solid, I feel shaky and hollow. We’re all feeling the lack of match fitness the pandemic has caused. But it’s an absolute godsend to be able to do a gig.
There’s no time for a stroll before the show as the setlists need reprinting so I’m venue bound for the day. Suddenly it’s time to change into stage clobber and get on. No time to think, I try to relax then weave onto the platform, my brothers in tow. The lights blind me but I can taste the presence of the assembled watchers waiting for the first notes. We drift into the opening song. Let’s see where this goes…
Back in Glasgow the following day I buy a warm wrap from a local chickpea purveyor which I scoff in the sunshine in the park near my abode. My bench looks onto a forest of nettles and a blue-black pigeon comes skanking over to inspect for crumbs but I am too tidy for it. The thistle flowers in the wild bed behind me have mutated into masses of feathery seeds just waiting to be lifted away by the wind. Neighbours pass one another on their Saturday stroll, there’s a dog barking on the street. I hear the sound of a football being kicked on the other side of a hedge and some toddlers nattering. There’s a drill – way off – on a building site somewhere.
The van arrives in the late afternoon for the last trip, a passenger light as Kris is going straight south to Cornwall after the show so is driving himself. There is no longer the brittle excitement of the first day, everyone is more relaxed and perhaps a little tired. But the weather is perfect and the mood is positive.
After a brief soundcheck I make for the Meadows, Edinburgh’s Hyde Park, groups scattered across the expansive lawns like last patches of snow in spring. I see tree-to-tree tightrope wobblers, boys running after footballs and a young woman with the fresh cotton-wool dressing from an hours-old vaccination. Another fucking beautiful day.
5 Responses to “Queens Hall Days Two and Three”
I love that you have the guts to use your platform to speak about controversial matters like climate change. Unfortunately I haven’t got the guts and my partner and I only discuss it between ourselves. In the 80’s we chose not to have kids because of it and we are in a very small minority. I can’t wait to get out of lockdown and attend a climate change protest. A group of school children are sueing our Environment Minister for not showing her duty of care to future generations. Our (climate change denier) Prime Minister is attending a climate change summit in Glasgow on the 15th and that will be a big fat waste of time. But he does not speak for me and 70,% of Australians who want to reach 0 emissions by 2050. On a brighter note we learned today that there is a lyrebird in a zoo imitating babies screaming their lungs out. Also David Attenborough filmed a lyrebird imitating chainsaws in the forest years ago. Both are easy to find on Google. P.S. Thanks for being the most amazing singer songwriter and entertainer for so long. Your work is truly appreciated.
Going to usher hall gig in December not seen the guys in a few years “feeling guilty can’t contribute to their coffers” but a fan forever, never actually listened to any band that can take your emotions on such a rollercoaster ride, superb.
Thanks to this godsend a 5-day trip to a new city with 3 fantastic acoustic concerts by my favourite band was possible. Halleluhjah! The 26th was spontaneous, the 27th was planned and the 28th was a lucky encounter. Hold on that sounds a bit like I’m entertaining myself to death. But I feel quite the opposite – very alive, happy and grateful. I enjoyed very much the 27th (wasn’t too long). It was a perfect performance. More new songs were played and I came for that despite the annoying travel conditions. Apart from many of your great songs, I currently love the new stuff the most! “Sleep instead of Teardrops” was wonderful to hear live. Thank you all so much for this fantastic music and your stunning voice that makes my ears slide completely out of control. I wish you all the best and lots of fun at the upcoming concerts and hope to hear more new songs – from a devoted fan.
I love that analogy…
“The alarm bells have been ringing for fifty years at least. There’s a fire in the basement and we’re peering out from the roof of the ninety-ninth floor wondering where the fuck we go next.”
And laughed nodding at entertaining ourselves to death not only for our planet but for the couch potatoes with square eyes instead of roots.
I wish you were doing a gig near me, East Midlands way. I used to always go to your gigs in the early days when I lived in the North East. Rural areas are great for living in but rubbish for external entertainment over and above a wildlife park or bouncy assault course on a lake.
Good luck with the tour. I’m sure you’ll be great. You always are.
What a wonderful set list. A few heads emptied of its listening wishes for sure. New stuff already fits in with the older stuff and much older oh so good b sides getting an airing too. Perfection!