Friday, 1 October 2010


Looking back at the concerts I've seen over the years can be quite interesting, but this week 7 years ago was quite impressive. I had managed to wangle through work a jolly, and a massive jolly at that, I had been asked to Chicago, with work, i was second replacement so very jammy, to meet with parent company for a couple of days. The work trip was grand, lots of nice huge steaks and I learned that the followers of Green Bay Packers are called the Cheese Heads, a very glamourous Nick name but they do wear big triangular foam cheese hats to the games so fair play to them. My work was over by the Friday and having hub bed through New York this meant I could get 24 hours in the big apple which was very hard to turn down.

I stopped in a nice little hotel and looked out of the window in the morning with the hustle and bustle of NYC. It was time to get out and do stuff, whenever in a city in the US I will always grab the free papers, to find out what's going on, the local quality record shops etc and local culture. Having grabbed these I settled myself in a coffee shop, to watch the world passing by and get my thoughts together. Breakfast was suitably NY I felt having bagels and black coffee, years before I became addicted to star bucks venti black americanos. I did feel top of the world. Sitting there I read the free papers and found out a quality B Movie which was coming out in the US -Bubba HoTep,
this film caught my imagination as film that stars an aged Elvis Presley (post faked death) in an old folks home battling against a zombie just sounded exotically relevant to my trip and I logged the film away to check out later (and it did turn out to be a classic).

From here it was off to various locations, I have no idea the order, but I walked everywhere, seeing everything, with particular highlights being seeing the Dakota Building where Lennon was murdered on my birthday, and the Strawberry Fields memorial garden lots of random tourists sat around quietly, the MOMA (museum of modern art) as Mrs P's sophistication has rubbed off a little, the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Chelsea Hotel where Nancy Was killed by Sid, where the twin towers used to be (to be fair just looked like a building site to me, and various record shops. Time Square was excellent, so much Neon and brands flashing everywhere, a pop into the MTV store was fun.

On the way back to my hotel I wandered past Maddison Square Gardens and decided to have a look in, having heard of this venue many times, and my luck was in, double luck in fact, REM were playing, result, but so was the fact that they had not sold out, so I bought a ticket and was back ready to watch later.

They were great, as were Sparklehorse the supper. Michael Stipe was in blue face phase, and I had a couple of young American lasses sat beside me who seemed to be impressed with my English Accent, I must have hid the Brummie well that day.

Do I remember much more, well no, but it was cracking to have had such a 24 hours before heading back to Blighty.......and there is talk of another Jolly to come, once every 7 years, bonus.

I suppose my lack of gig memory is largely due to my not having followed REM when they were cult etc, but where REM have evolved for me is from a band who did a cracking song when I was at school (Shiny Happy People) borrowing one of the B-52's who I did like a lot, and then decided that that song was not grand so they would distance themselves and not play it. It always annoyed me that they were seen as this incredibly cool band and the B-52's a bit of a novelty, to be fair perfectly justified, but then I have listened as the whole world has over the years and have come to appreciate some absolutely cracking tunes, Crush with Eyeliner is top drawer, and the end of the world at the gig to round things off (at what Stipe considered was his hometown gig) was particularly amazing.......

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