Tag Archives: O2

FU MANCHU VOWS RENEWED WITH THE ACTION IS GO!

Some months ago I told you about me attending Fu Manchu’s The Action is Go 15th anniversary show in London. Well, as it’s always been said, what’s worth enjoying takes its time to arrive, and once here, the pleasure it causes is very intense but too brief.

I purchased tickets for this show mentioned early March, and since then many things have occurred. The event took place on Saturday evening, and I’m already back home, relived after resting in my own bed (God bless!). 36 hours invested in London, just to see one of my favorite bands’ live show. Likely you think I’m nuts, and this has been an excess, a whim, but you know, this is the way I am, and this show was something I couldn’t miss, for many reasons, some of them personal, as to close a circle which started in London, in 1999. You can call it nostalgia for the good old times. I won’t disagree. As explained, my love for Fu Manchu started with this album.

Everything had been quietly arranged in advance, with my favorite gig flash trip partner, Verónica, who’s also devoted to the Orange County boys. A low cost stay in London for a couple of nights being Saturday the day to wander around. I’ll explain about meeting London later on, because I have many feelings which need to be processed first.

Saturday arrived and we spent most of the day walking and enjoying one of the coolest and most beautiful days I’ve ever remembered in the city. We’re not used to early scheduled shows and as the doors opening were announced at 6pm, we managed to be around early, so we could be told the actual hours and the name of the supporting band.

I also had a very important target to accomplish, which was to purchase the limited re-edition of The Action is Go gatefold album, in red and blue vinyl. I HAD to have it, since I wanted it for so many years, and wouldn’t allow it to run out in front of my eyes. I’d feel miserable. So I had to make sure I could get it and keep things under strict control. After a beer at a pub nearby, with full of people watching soccer and long haired guys in rock-metal t-shirts likely to be also attending the show, we got in the venue.

I was frisked in a way I had to ask the security lady what she was looking for. She didn’t care about my camera, but opened and registered my wallet, looking for drugs (!!!). I couldn’t believe it.

Once in and after our visit to the merch stand, we were finally ready for the show. The Shrine, a Venice Beach trio, were the opening band. This punk-hard-heavy-metal-rock band, delivered several powerful tunes from his recently released album Primitive Blast, for half an hour, starting to warming up the audience, quite large, considering there was still an hour before Fu Manchu hit the stage. Their performance was really solid and the tunes were quite good. Wild riffs, very influenced by metal 70’s bands, and their song quite punk speed,  their formula is likely to hook many new fans during this tour, as they sounded very intense and fun, and songs were catchy. These young guys confessed being  pretty stoked for this  first time in Europe, and super honored to open for Scott Hill’s band.

Quarter past 8, Islington Academy sold out. Tony Alva’s aka The Action is Go skater’s anniversary design banner shining on top of the stage, everybody is nervous, we are in second row, in front of Brad Davis, the bass player, and we’re excited and hysterical.

It was kinda obvious the hit which would open the show, Evil Eye. In fact, they followed the correct track list, with no changes. The audience got crazy with Burning Road, Laserb’last and Strolling Astronomer, and I was delighted, singing and dancing nostop. Fortunately there was not massive mosh pit, as the last times I had seen them in Spain, and even though we received some shoves, it wasn’t too dramatic nor unbearable, and could remain in our current position for the whole show.

More fuzz and distortion than ever, Scott Hill and his poses, with his Fender Jaguar and his SSD classic see-through guitar, seemed to be really happy for being in London, as this is a very special city for them. Davis seemed more histrionic and funnier than usual, having Coronas all the time, Balch, as usual, playing his riffs in another planet, and, Oh God! Scott Reeder, the drummer (reminds me of Guy Pearce, by the way), playing sharp and accurate, yet with this groove, he was awesome. With the voice delay effect, the fuzz and other distort pedals beyond my knowledge, those slower tempo tunes, there were very lysergic moments creating a dreamy atmosphere. Some other times they were groove as Hell making audience dance merciless as if in a kind of celebration. So damn cool!

When they came back to stage to play the encore, we were all uncontrolled. Hill asked which songs we’d like them to play fo the night, and obviously we wanted all of them, but finally the winners were real Fu Manchu anthems: California Crossing, King of the Road, and the acid trip of Godzilla. What can I say? When the show was over, and the roadie guy attended my request of having Bob Balch’s set list (Hell Yeah!) I was plain and simply happy. I couldn’t care less about the rest of the world. I had seen Fu Manchu for the 9th time in my life and the show had been one of the most intense and fun I had enjoyed. The feeling of being in London, listening to The Action is Go songs, and then meeting Ben and Joe from Orange Goblin as it used to happen when I was living there, brought me back a familiar feeling as recovering those good old times I enjoyed in London 12-14 years ago. Time’s passed, but I had the same feelings and my mind was as fresh as young as back then. It was wonderful.

Thus, on Saturday I renewed my Fu Manchu fan vows for at least another 15 more years, and now it’s time to wait for a new album, said to be released next year, and the 15th anniversary of the wild King of the Road. In Spain? I don’t think so, the band seemed to lack motivation when playing if front of barely 100 people, and it’s justified they don’t feel like coming back here. Spain, musically speaking, and with pain in my heart, we get what we deserved, and sometimes even more.

Hail to Fu Manchu, one more time! Hope to see you soon, in London, Tokyo, LA… with you, anything goes, dear friends!

TOM PETTY, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

When Tom  Petty & The Heartbreakers announced European tour dates ignoring Spain due to lack of interest from promoters I got so disappointed I didn’t consider the option of visiting him overseas. I love Petty but it’d be untrue to define myself as a diehard fan.

There are certain obligations or at least a list of things not to be missed by all means, for a rock lover. I’ve always said that attending a Kiss live performance should be compulsory, and better if you’re a teen. I really mean it.

Well, same happens with Tom Petty. If you get the chance, you must see him regardless. It’s like paying your respects to one of the Godfathers of rock.

I didn’t realize about it until I helped my best friend to purchase tickets for the show in Dublin, the first one. In the afternoon of that very same day, I was with Artie and Mayra when they insisted on me joining them in their trip. Thus at that point eventually I understood they wanted the best for me and accepted the proposal, despite my financial situation. This was one of those Do or Die situations, once in a lifetime.

As we didn’t know the city, Dublin seemed like a good destination, a very easy city, with pubs every two meters. We arrived in town the day before, so we could start getting acquainted with the birthplace of remarkable celebrities such as Imelda MayJonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde among others. I thought Rory Gallagher was born in Dublin, but a reader corrected me, he was raised in Cork (my mistake!).

Weather was rough on Thursday, typical horrible shitty Irish weather, raining nonstop, but we didn’t really care, Petty was already in town and we were basically focused on the upcoming evening.

It was 7pm when we got into the venue, the stunning O2. Tickets had eventually been sold out, and although there were still 30 minutes remaining for Jonathan Wilson’s performance, there was a great deal of audience already congregated.

The supporting act started on time. Wilson’s performance was neat and atmospheric, and he and his band sounded amazing. I was delighted when he started with the beautiful Desert Raven. He went on playing remarkable songs from his album The Gentle Spirit. The audience was quite attentive to his set, and seemed that everybody was quite pleased. The double voice melodies and guitar lines were outstanding. A very nice appetizer.

The standing zone got packed after a while, although we could easily move and track friends among the crowd. Once settled, we were ready to welcome Mr. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, who started playing Listen to her Heart to go on blowing out minds with You Wreck Me, I Won’t Back Down and Here Comes my Girl.

I’m not very good at remembering song and album titles, especially since I’ve had limitless access to so much music. Those days when you used to learn all lyrics and album details by heart are long gone. I still keep back lyrics but I’m awful with the rest. Don’t tell me about producers nor band members, I’ll disappoint you immediately.  Why am I telling you this? Because Mr. Petty had the kind gesture of introducing most of the songs in the set list, providing a brief feedback or background. It was really helpful for all who were writing down the songs. I had this guy from Madrid by my side with a small pocket book, in the same situation as I was, so we were assisting each other when necessary, sort of journalist brotherhood, hahaha!

So many tours ignoring, or better said, leaving Spain behind, are obliging diehard fans to move overseas to enjoy the shows. It’s a sacrifice and a huge expense, worth investing most of times. I could see many familiar faces around and Spanish language presence was remarkable. I don’t think the band had realized about it before, because when Tom related the meeting with a fan coming from Spain the night before, the venue almost fell down due to the noise, shouts and soccer style chants coming from all the Spanish crowd. I’m not fond of such cattle displays, but this time, and considering the disappointment suffered by the absence of Spanish dates in the tour, I felt glad and even proud of all of us letting Petty know we love him.

Free Fallin’, It’s Good to Be a King, Learning to Fly, Runnin’ Down a Dream…imagine hit after hit, it was the closest idea I’ve got of being in Heaven. It was wonderful, the band sounded perfect, and the work of Mike Campbell and Scott Thurston was brilliant and essential for the final result.

It was at the time of the encore, with Mary Jane’s Last Dance, and once we had left the first rows dehydrated in search of a pint of beer, when my strength collapsed and I started crying like a child, hugging my friends and thanking them for being there by my side sharing such an awesome experience. gotta admit crying of happiness and excitement in a show is something I feel glad for, cause among several circumstances of each time, it also means I’m alive and happy for real, and it’s mostly music the only thing which makes me achieve such state.

Despite the length of the show, not reaching the 2 hours, and many hits among such an extended discography missing, the experience was worth living, and the concert was awesome, leaving us with a blissful sweet taste in our mouths and all of us wishing we had tickets for the show in Cork the following day. Never enough of Petty.

I only wish what he said at the end of the show is true, and we can see him soon again.

Let’s not make it 20 years next time

This is what we enjoyed the other night:

SET LIST
Listen to Her Heart
You Wreck Me
I Won’t Back Down
Here Comes My Girl
Handle with Care
Good Enough
Oh Well
Something Big
King’s Highway
Free Fallin’
It’s Good To Be King
Something Good Coming
Learning to Fly
Yer So Bad
I Shoulda Known It
Refugee
Runnin’ Down A Dream

ENCORE:
Mary Jane
American Girl

And here is the set of the most decent pictures I could take. Hope you like them.