I was in Belfast on Saturday night for the Robert Plant concert. I have seen Robert Plant many times now but I think Saturday's performance was the best ever. We got into the queue early and got right up to the front, just slightly off to the right but still with a full view, of the stage. The time flew in, 2 hours of new tracks, recent tracks and of course, Led Zeppelin tracks, including one of my favourite's, That's The Way. A heart-stopping performance from this amazingly talented man and the equally talented Sensational Space Shifters (try saying that sober, never mind after a few). I would recommend you go and see them but the tour is sold out so if you don't have a ticket now then you have no chance of getting one, I'm afraid. But you can check out the new album, Carry Fire, a relaxing mellow bluesy listen, treat yourself for xmas!
Also on the bill, was the support act, Seth Lakeman, who I didn't know, but have become an instant fan. Another brilliant musician, he also played with the band, a great fiddle/violin player among many instruments he could put his hand too. He too has a new album out, Ballads of the Broken Few. I haven't heard the album yet but going by the content of the show, it would definitely be worth the money.
So, a great night out all around, good music, good company and we also had a great meal beforehand. I can't remember the name of the restaurant we ate in but it is right next to the Travelodge in the city centre near the Ulster Hall, so if in Belfast and in need of sustenance, check it out. Excellent food and reasonably priced.
But, unfortunately, there was a downside to the night and one of the reasons why I have given up on the big gigs, the 'concert poseur'. You know the one, the, 'just bought the recent album, and everybody else is going so you have to go, and take none stop selfies and pictures and film and post everything to Facebook so everyone can see what a dynamic and interesting life you live' and annoy the shit out of everyone around you.
Now, I have been to many concerts and dealt with some extremely annoying incidences, from the stampede of 'queens' at the Cher concert who almost trampled over the rest of the audience in their haste to get to the stage, to the constant selfie-takers/Facebookers at Bryan Adams (where I got to watch most of the concert through their phones) but never had to actually speak up or complain because, well, it's a concert, and people get a bit excited but they usually calm down once the 'star' is on stage and the show started.
Not this time (by the way, these were 3 males, not females) and the shouting of inanities, yee-hawing and self-congratulatory braying continued unabated to the point where I couldn't actually hear Robert Plant singing. So, for the first time in my life, after almost being deafened in one ear by the roaring, patience ran out and I turned around and said 'Would you ever shut the fuck up! I paid good money to come here to listen to Robert Plant, not you!' So, for the most part it calmed down, at least to a level that was bearable and I was able to enjoy the rest of the show.
We were going to the pub after the show, to meet up with friends and on stepping out on to the streets of Belfast were greeted with, what can only be described as, Dante's version of Christmas. Party night was on and the sight of hundreds of drunken 'party-goers' in xmas jumpers confirmed to me why I never was, or will be, a party person, especially a xmas party person. Basically, because I've seen too many of them and too often, they're really not that much 'fun' with everyone trying too hard to 'have fun' or show the world how much 'fun' they are.
The xmas party crowd usually consists of one person, usually the one with the biggest ego/mouth, at the centre of it all, being the most 'fun' with a few of her/his minions desperately hanging on them, keeping them happy and hoping to share their limelight. Then, you have the other faction who usually hate the self-same 'centre of attraction', but since it's Xmas and it's supposed to be 'good will to all men', they swallow it back until about 2.30 in the morning when everyone has drunk way too much and the taxi hasn't turned up.
So, we had a few drinks and headed for our beds and left the party-goers to it but all I can say to the bar/door/PSNI/taxi staff is, you have my deepest and sincerest sympathy and whatever they are paying you, it isn't enough.