The best gigs I never went to

Most of you will have memories of the most awe-inspiring gigs, left covered in sweat and beer but exhilarated.   Whilst I’ve had my fair share of those evenings, I was thinking about some that I have missed but not because I couldn’t get a ticket, but out of sheer stupidity or bad luck.   

I’ve conspired against myself to waste a lot of money over the years…

1) Smashing Pumpkins, Wembley Arena

I was hesitant when booking this as I don’t like arena venues, but upon learning this would be their farewell show (this was before the reformed half a dozen times) and having never seen them before thought I must put aside my musical snobbery and go to Wembley.   I called the box office asking for 1 ticket to Friday night, the first of the two nights they were playing.   The voice on the other side said Friday was sold out and only Saturday was available, no problem, so I accepted and completed the sale.   Months passed, tickets arrived and I stored them away until the Saturday morning of the gig, by now I was quite excited and retrieved my tickets in anticipation when I noticed the date on the ticket stated “Friday 3rd November”

2) Mark Kozelek, Union Chapel

A couple of hours spent in a church listening to miserable melancholia, I was thrilled!   It’s only two stops on the train from the end of my road so I had plenty of time to go for a drink with some mates in the pub first.  The next day I woke up with a stinging hangover, obviously never making it to the drink leads to another…

3) Glastonbury 1994

OK, I went, but I think I saw about 3 bands all weekend such was my stupor, and one of them was M People  (my shame is I remember them being great, but that’s what an acid tab procured from a hippy cross-legged and gently rocking atop a VW van does for you)

4) Flaming Lips/Dinosaur Jr/Arcade Fire, Alexandra Palace and Hyde Park

Not sure why I bothered buying tickets having seen the first two bands at least a dozen times before and in smaller venues where they are inevitably better.   I sold these a week before I went, a friend who wasn’t so fickle reported to me that people just talked through the gig, they did say the gigs were great though.  Who spends £50 on a gig to chat through it?   If you want to pay £50 to chat to someone, you’re better off paying a counsellor £50 to find out why you spend £50 on gigs you talk through.

I came to the conclusion that I don’t like big gigs anymore, I get flashbacks from big crowds so I went off the idea of going, it must be one of those things that happens when you get old.  The thrill of seeing  a great band advertised, the race to book tickets once they go on sale frantically pressing redial or refresh on your computer to get through.  Then when the euphoria dies down I realise I’m too old now and I can’t mix it with the hip kids, so I decide to give gigs a miss and stay home to watch Countdown instead.

Ignoring the obvious, the best I have is 6 letters, DETOUR

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