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23-06-2009

Oasis

Hardy gig goer Richard Nevin enjoys two very different gigs in Cardiff in Birmingham. There was only one common denominator – the bloody queues!

It’s been a long standing truism that the English love queuing, and after attending two large scale “gigs” in the last two weeks I can confirm that this passion is alive and well. On consecutive Fridays, I paid £50 plus to spend an awful lot if time looking at the back of someone else’s head.

First stop Wales and the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, for the latest date of the Oasis World Tour, and by way of preparation for what lay ahead, my companion and I arrived later than planned in the principality following long traffic queues on the M5.

Once inside the impressive venue, after waiting to have a body search on entry and patiently taking a turn at the City Centre cash point, the memories of the Gallagher Brothers legendary Knebworth gigs came flooding back. Literally. The place was awash with Lager.

Whether flying through the air in an, admittedly impressive display of pint throwing at pitch level, or that which swilled around the concourse areas having been dropped by over-enthusiastic beer drinkers, it was hard to avoid the amber nectar, particularly if you spend and hour or so in line to be served, as I did and other members of my party chose to, in order to quench our thirst for over priced sub standard refreshment.

Of course, once you have re-fuelled, a chain reaction takes place and relief has to be sought and with such high consumption levels, it was inevitable that access to the “rest rooms” would mean further queuing. As with elsewhere, the toilets were somewhat damp underfoot, I won’t go into graphic detail but it was the first facility of that type I had been in that contained a deep end.

Amongst all this standing around, I managed to catch some of support band Kasabian (I wouldn’t queue to watch them again) and all of Oasis. The sound was poor and Liam’s drawl unintelligible, but I had a rattling good sing-song along with the other sixty thousand or so.

Seven days later, and I’m in a queue once again, this time a little closer to home. It’s the interval at the N.I.A., where a packed arena is enjoying Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. The wait for access to the W.C. is again a long one, but judging by the age of the audience, the popularity of the facilities is likely to be down to prostrate trouble rather than over doing it on the beer.

In fact it is no problem to get a pint, the irony of which was not lost on me, after my Cardiff experience and particularly as I had decided to drive.

The hot beverage counter attracted far more custom than the bar all night, as the decidedly sedate audience were keeping a clear head to listen to Richard Burton’s splendid narration. Little deviation from the original recording takes place with the live reading of the musical version of the H.G. Wells story, so the spectacle is all, and among the promised “stunning special effects” the sight of a roadie stationed up in the gods chucking dead leaves over the audience during Forever Autumn really did take one’s breath away.

With the space aliens vanquished it was back out into the Birmingham night and to complete my two gig queuing marathon in style, it took me over an hour the exit the Brindley Place muti-story car park.

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