Every live gig I’ve ever been to has given me some kind of story to tell. You could ask me about any of them and I could come up with at least one occurrence that captured the spirit of the night. But not every live show has been truly ‘special’. I’ve seen excellent performances by bands with crowds numbering in their thousands that were simply ‘very good nights out’. No more, no less.
No, it’s those gigs that leave you buzzing all the way home that count, the ones where you really felt part of something special and years later, need only think of that occasion to be right back there, in soul if not in body. Sometimes the whole gig doesn’t have to be brilliant, a single ‘magic moment’ is all you need. And it’s those events that have kept me coming back for more. Most people just settle for a few favourites and watch them every time they come round. I’m not like that. I’ve rolled the dice on catching relatively unknown bands plenty of times (especially at festivals). You never know what you might discover.
It doesn’t always work. I’ve had my share of dead nights, shitty soundsystems and line-ups that seem to shift every time you look at them. But there’s also those character building moments where somehow I still managed to watch some live music despite near-intolerable circumstances.
It’s also worth saying that virtually all the experiences you’ll read about here have been from a man-in-the-crowd perspective. The take-off of my DJing endeavours has given me a few backstage access privileges, but the VIP tent at M’era Luna and the queue-jump passes at WGT have always been off-limits to me. As for those live events I personally DJed – well, you’ll have to wait for the Terminates Here story, which I have every intention of writing at some point.
The bitter truth is – I’ve paid for this, financially, mentally, physically and aurally, a perspective rarely seen in the so-called ‘music press’, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
So, onto the first part – 1997-2000