No one was moving. No one was jumping around. Even when they finally did Dakota, the crowd barely sang along - and this is in sharp contrast to their first gig where I wished the crowd would shut up 'cause everyone was singing so loudly that I could hardly hear Kelly's voice. And they were singing along for the ENTIRE song, not just the chorus.
In terms of crowd response, their second gig was quite a failure. I was - still am - really surprised, even a bit shocked, at how lacklustre the crowd was. To make matters worse, towards the end, when the band played Local Boy in the Photograph, some fuckwit threw a slipper at Kelly and he walked off mid-song with a pissed off "good night". What the hell was that? Thankfully the security units took care of the problem; they had a stage manager guy come out on stage to explain things. (His accent was SO thick that I couldn't understand a word and had to rely on Audrey to translate. Basically he said it was okay for people to have a bit of a laugh but don't go overboard. Clearly, throwing bloody footwear at the singer went a bit overboard. Yeah, just a little bit.) After that, the band came back and did "Bartender and the Thief".
The gig was actually really good. They're quite impeccable live, and I swear, Kelly Jones never once goes out of tune. They opened with Live 'N Love, song from new album, and halfway through I started grinning crazily to myself because I was so happy to be hearing them live. The energy from the band was at a consistently high level throughout the night, barely dipping even a little despite the lack of response from the crowd.
They did all the good songs from the new album (except one - I really hate "Could You Be The One" because the lyrics are SO bad) and their tried-and-tested classics like "Pick a Part That's New", "Maybe Tomorrow", "Traffic", "Just Looking", "A Thousand Trees". I was happy they did the Superman/Doorman duo. I was happy Kelly did a solo on "Bright Red Star" which was also the only song from Pull the Pin (I would've liked to hear "Pass the Buck" and "It Means Nothing").
Hearing "Dakota" live for the first time was more of a religious experience than hearing it live for the second time. I think I've also weaned off the song emotionally over the years and it doesn't speak to me as much as it did when I needed it most. But this song is still special. It's still my favourite song in the history of ever. And I take strange comfort in the odd continuity of Kelly introducing the song thus: "This song is called 'Dakota'." Some things, like this song, Kelly's introduction, never change; some things never go away.
I love Stereophonics. I knew the words to almost every song. And now I finally understand the relevance of "Trouble", from the latest album: it sounds stupid in the car but wow, it sounds absolutely mind-blowing live. The band played it with mad frenetic energy. Too bad the snotty crowd didn't respond.
But a minority of the crowd did respond, but not always in a good way. Starting with the positive: I was quite amused to see this Chinese girl, rather plump, in glasses and a black dress, rocking out to the songs by herself. And I really mean ROCKING OUT. She was shaking her body vigorously and honestly didn't look super amazing but she didn't care; she just did it and had a ball of a time and I thought it was really cute.
What WASN'T fucking cute was the group of fucking drunk ang mohs to my right (Chinese girl was to my left). It was me, then the drunk ang mohs. They were downright obnoxious and rude. It was funny at first when one of them started dancing stupidly to the songs; but it ceased to be funny when they all huddled together and hopped around, crashing into me at one point. Worst of all, when Kelly was singing "Bright Red Star", the fuckheads were talking among themselves. What the fuck? If you want to have a conversation, why the hell are you at a fucking concert? Why don't you burn your money at the fucking casinos and leave me alone?
Speaking of leave me alone - midway through one of them tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "Are you enjoying the concert?" I said "yup" and immediately turned my head to face the stage and ignored him.
A while later, the same idiot suddenly put his hand on my shoulder and leaned towards me. I swear I'm not making this up - he did that and he actually, actually asked, "Can I sit on your shoulder?"
I mean, if he'd said "do you want to sit on my shoulders" maybe it would've made sense. But he asked if he could sit on my shoulders. Um, what?! I quickly stepped away from him, facing him, putting much-needed distance between me and Drunk Idiot, and said, "Um, no." Simultaneously he gestured to his legs as if he wanted to hoist them up, and I honestly got a little bit scared. Audrey came to my rescue though and stood between me and Drunk Idiot. Bless her. Thank goodness for her. When the drunk idiots crashed into me she scolded them for me.
Those group of guys nearly ruined the night for me. They were SO obnoxious; they were shouting retarded things at the band the whole night, like "Substitute" (apparently it's a song? Obviously not a Stereophonics song) and "Don't Stop Believing" (which is some Glee song or whatever right?) and shit. At one point one of them yelled, "Oasis is better!" Maybe it was a joke that only people from the UK would get but yeah, it totally eluded me if it was supposed to be funny.
My love for the band outweighed my irritation at the drunk idiots though. I just wish the crowd responded better. Lastly, I don't think they're ever coming back again. How absolutely tragic. And I hope like hell I'm wrong.