Under the Bridge, London
Never experienced a build-up to a gig like this. It was the night that England played Colombia, the venue management put the game up on big screens arranged for the set to begin at the end of regular time. Anticipation of joy, a late equaliser, a massive groan, but the prospect of the gig was more inviting than the tension of extra time, and a big cheer when Hiatt hit the stage.
No surprises with John Hiatt, but a brilliant purveyor of country/blues/rock of the more grisly, careworn variety. In the early numbers his voice seemed a bit lost in the mix and the bass was heavy, but this was ironed out a few songs in and the band were up to rock the place. The show was based around his ‘Slow Turning’ album – celebrating its 30th anniversary – but he split it at halfway to throw in some other songs and added more at the end.
What stood out from the previous times I’ve seen him is that he allowed Sonny Landreth to stretch out more on slide guitar, and that Hiatt seemed to be letting rip more with the vocals. He hasn’t got a great range but knows how to squeeze a bit extra out of his voice. Highlight of the night for me was a great, shambling version of ‘The Tiki Bar Is Open’.
Also notable how the mood went up a notch when it came through that England had won on penalties. Came out with a sense that everybody had got what they had expected and were very happy with it.
A few 40 somethings, mainly 50s and 60s, predominantly male. Notable how many had obviously lost all interest in looking like a rock fan; lots of M&S check and polo shirts on display.
It made me think..
A state of anxiety about something happening 2,000 miles away can actually intensify the pleasure from a performance.