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Shepherds Bush Empire Gig review - 4th Oct

 
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2002 2:30 pm    Post subject: Shepherds Bush Empire Gig review - 4th Oct Reply with quote

(various reviews originally posted on the old B

TOTKat

Turned up at the gig. Great support act, Chris T-T. Bit of a nervous chap, but good nevertheless. Then Ben Folds comes on... he's like a cute, young, energetic and straight version of Elton John, but with a full head of hair. The first few songs are really jumping, energy-filled sing-a-long numbers and the crowd is loving it. (Great, you night think, but this bodes ill for later.) We're quite near the front and surrounded by people who know all the words and the in jokes.

After a good 6 or 7 songs, nature calls and we both need to head towards the back of the venue for some, er, relief. Neil Hannon pops on to play guitar for one number when we're back in and listening and everything is cool, but we're itchy to hear some Divine Comedy. Then the interval comes.

And we're at the back, on the sloping bit of floor behind the bar, surrounded by loudly yacking people, drinking beer. Then Neil, plus 3, comes on and does an acoustic "Here Comes The Flood" which, while quite good, just doesn't have the manpower to really raise the amount of noise needed for that track. And the double bass is way too loud, so it is resonating the air conditioning vents. People around us, still yacking away. Hmph. Three songs later, and we're the only ones, within eyesight, singing along and dancing. Though it is quite difficult to hear the band 'cause of the people gabbing around us. Then, Ben Folds comes back on, to play drums and sing with Neil for one song and the crowd barely notice as they carry on their conversations, loudly. Even "A Drinking Song" fails to rouse any interest and we can't even hear the talky bit at all, nevermind the barbershop part. Finally, the piece de resistance... the last song "The Dogs and The Horses" segues into "Tonight We Fly" and we're pogo-ing like you're supposed to, only to find that within the whole damned audience, there were possibly three pockets of 2-4 people each doing the same. The front 25-30 rows in the theatre are giving Neil absolutely no response. The number ends, Neil mumbles "Thnks. G'night." and heads off. As do we. It was terrible. I felt like crying. The Divine Comedy fans in there must've been outnumbered 20:1 by the Ben Folds fans. At least. And the Folds fans just didn't give a s**t about anything else. I felt so bad for Neil. It must've been awful to be up on stage at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, knowing that normally, DC could pack the place for two nights by their own merit, and getting practically nothing back from the audience.

Brixton Academy, last year, was a phenomenal gig. And I know that this year at Shepherd's Bush would have been good, but I think it was a massive mistake co-headlining with Ben Folds, especially seeing as he'd not toured since 1999. There were always going to be a lot more Folds fans there.

Gin Soaked Michael 2

Yes, I noticed a lot of background chat too. The sound quality was poor, the bass was too loud, and Neil's vocals too soft.

Helen

Oh no, I wish you'd been stood near us (about 6 people back from the front on the right hand side)! It was really good natured, there was no trouble/talking and even the people who were only there to see Ben were enjoying Neil and co and singing along to the tracks they knew. There was much singing and dancing by all round us, especially during the Divine Comedy set (although it was a bit difficult to bounce when you're packed in so close). The Ben Folds fans were quite vocal I admit- but then again Ben hasn't toured in this country for ages and ages where as Neil has been touring quite extensively in the UK over the same time. Bloody hell- even I was more excited to see Ben than Neil! Neil obviously has a lot of respect for Ben (and I think that's mutual) so it was brilliant for me to see my two favourite recording artistes together.

timthefish

you'll probably kill me for this, but it was the first time i'd seen TDC and was actually well unimpressed. ben folds (who i wasn’t there to see) impressed me far more. maybe it was just an off day...

Holes in my Pockets

I am surprised at people's disappointment with the concert, i really am.

I was stood about 5/6 back, about as far right as you could be, and it sounded perfect! The crowd seemed quiet but appreciative, the only comment i heard was by the people to our left, looking at us and saying "how do they know all the words?"!!!

The set list was almost perfect, and i think could have only been improved by Timewatching and Long and sleepless night. Especially impressed with woman of the world and happy goth.

Oh, and ben folds was very good too, especially the pretty singing we all did to not the same.

Loved the duetting in the encore too - they ought to release something together!
Only my second DC gig, but they were as good if not better than last time.

TOTKat

quote:
Originally posted by timthefish:

you'll probably kill me for this, but it was the first time i'd seen TDC and was actually well unimpressed. ben folds (who i wasn’t there to see) impressed me far more. maybe it was just an off day...

Well, no. If it had been the first time I'd seen DC and on the strength of that gig alone, I'd agree. Trust me, it is normally a _lot_ better, I mean light years better. I think Neil needs feedback from the audience in order to perform, and he just wasn't getting it.

TOTKat

quote:
Originally posted by Holes in my Pockets:

I am surprised at people's disappointment with the concert, i really am.
I was stood about 5/6 back, about as far right as you could be, and it sounded perfect! The crowd seemed quiet but appreciative, the only comment i heard was by the people to our left, looking at us and saying "how do they know all the words?"!!!
...

They probably couldn't believe that people knew the words to the support act's songs. *ahem* That's seriously the impression I got from the Folds fans.

Sugarlumps

I stood with Holes IMP - we were just behind the two girls who were doing all the groovy dancing together, and just to the right of people who were discussing the phenomenon of me taking notes.
I did my best to sing along and my hardest to hurt people's feet. And pogoing is hard in my Dr Martens & on sticky floor. Holes sang all the brass parts.
Energetic guitarist!
I loved the ROCK Here Comes The Flood.
I loved Happy Goth & Idaho/Boise. The DC fanatic's European Tour has spread to the New World! That's my new holiday idea - send postcards from each place. Or do that Mr Polly thing of posting your money on to the next place but keeping enough money each time to get there. Erm.

But I'd like to know whether Neil always tempts his audience by saying three simple words "My Lovely Horse". He could have tempted me with "Europop".

I admit I was surprised by the level of singing-along and gap-filling that the Ben Folds audience did. His piano hurt my ears, but I liked it when he stood on top and conducted the Shepherd's Bush Choir.

klur

I had been looking forward to that gig for so long... being a big DC and BF fan...
But I reckon you could only have enjoyed it if you were standing in the front few rows..
I was stood at the back of the stalls and managed to catch about 3 glimpses the whole night... couldn't see a thing - does that floor slope the wrong way?? I'm hardly a midget at 5'6 - but everyone seemed so tall - and doesn't help when most of them are sitting down to play...
...I mean I couldn't tell you anything about how many people were in the band - what they were playing... ben folds playing drums... well i missed that...
And I reckon that’s the reason everyone was talking - gig's just aren’t much fun when you are looking at the back of someone’s head..
so unless you were at the front it was just rubbish...
i just got pissed off could find nowhere where i could see any better... and then pissed...
and no encore?? i'm sure they sensed that people weren't listening...
anyway - rant over...
It's no reflection on any of the musicians - just a crap venue... (although neil hannon seemed to like it... i think i remember him saying)
boooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

Sugarlumps

THERE WAS AN ENCORE!
admittedly, it was a long time coming, and took quite a number of resurgences of clap, stamp and woo, but they came back and did:
Your Daddy's Car (Neil on piano, Ben singing)
Songs of Love (Ben on piano, Neil singing)
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (Neil on guitar, Ben on piano, both singing)
Brick (the whole band with Ben on piano and Neil on guitar and singing).
and then
Race For The Prize (whole band with Ben on guitar and him and Neil both singing).
The band for the main set was:
Neil on guitar / synth
The Guitar One (is it Ivor?) (some vibey stuff too)
The Double Bass One (dunno)
and
The Drum One (Rob?) plus vibraphone, glockenspiel & keyboard.
Sorry, band. I don't know my stuff.
I did notice on the way out that someone was in a t-shirts that had 'Idaho' in big letters on the sleeve.
A t-shirt of Weezer AND the muppets? Or are you unsure? I hope I didn't kick your feet.
Yes, people were talking far too much. I found that right behind the central bar, up behind the sound desk was an unrecognised good spot. Not that I stayed there. And the floor did seem a bit too much like a pit of not seeing anything.

Helen

I had a crap view from where I was really- I had my flattest pair of trainers on and I only managed to get glimpses on Ben at the piano. I fared better when the DC were on as I could see Neil ok and had a good view of Rob at the drums.

Gin Soaked Michael 2

quote:
Originally posted by timthefish:

you'll probably kill me for this, but it was the first time i'd seen TDC and was actually well unimpressed. ben folds (who i wasnt there to see) impressed me far more. maybe it was just an off day...

I brought a friend along, and he said something similar.

TOTKat

Such a shame... when we know it can be so, _so_ much better. *sigh* Roll on the next tour and maybe less of a bad decision with the way things are done. You know, the cover that DC did of The Power of Love last year at Brixton, it was the most stirring thing I'd heard in a long time. Rather a memorable moment was had during that song.

senleches

I was in the concert on Saturday - and the noise was just the same. But to me it did not seem different in both parts - people just kept on talking and talking. I can't understand these people: paying more than 20 quid for having a pissed conversation...? And missing the greatest concert of the year? To me the combination of talents was terrific.

Smiler_17

Very well said. I couldn't understand it either. I hope more solo shows will follow in the new year, hopefully at Brixton (my favourite venue)
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