Last night I skanked a bit. It’s not something I’ve done for a good few years. I don’t honestly think I have danced so much at a gig in my life as I did at The Specials yesterday. Such great music and a fantastic atmosphere. So why do I feel a bit frustrated?
It’s down to the fact that I like my gigs to have something personal about them. When they don’t I get the overwhelming feeling of being a bit let down. Surely bands do it all for the love and enjoy every second?
Ok I know. I suppose they would be a fool not to tour when they sell out venues and receive the reaction they got last night. Gift horses and all that.
Anyway I like a bit of banter. Terry Hall didn’t exactly say much apart from “Sheffield, Sheffield” (which could just as well have been “Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes”). Throw in a reference to the state of both football teams and have a dig at Leeds and you have the crowd on your side. Very lazy if you ask me. I mind this more than I minded getting splashed in the face in the first ten seconds by a jettisoned drink (that’s what I’m telling myself it was).
But obviously you couldn’t call the rest of the gig lazy. The music was incredible. And the additional great thing about the Specials is that loads of the lyrics are simple. Which means you can look as if you’ve known the words all your life and sing along enthusiastically after only hearing one chorus.
I also loved the crowd. It was like a scene from ‘This is England’. I did have to chuckle though when everyone started bouncing up and down like a maniac after the first couple of notes of the classics, like “Message to you Rudy”, but couldn’t keep up the level of fitness for the full three minutes. The bouncing ended up reduced to a low level shuffle. That’s what comes with being middle aged. All of the enthusiasm for reminiscing and none of the fitness required for a Ska gig.
So in the words of The Specials “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.” Just have a nice sit down and a cup of tea afterwards to recover.