Paul Bingley, sent in his review of the Bingley set, always enjoy reading fan reviews over the same old bland media reviews:
What do you get when you spend £15 on a ticket, drive 385 miles, queue for one and a half hours to buy a beer, and then squirt it down a filthy toilet? Believe it or not, you get to enjoy a day out at Bingley Music Live.
There is, of course, another ingredient to make such a day ‘extra-special’ –and that’s a full 90 minute set by Doves. And so, on 5th September 2009, those who were there were served up an absolute treat by the best band this side of the Universe.
We’d arrived at Myrtle Park a little after 4pm and just before Ocean Colour Scene took to the stage. I wasn’t a huge fan of them back in their day, so while my wife went off to cross her legs in the toilet queue, I withstood the beer line and waited for the theme tune to ‘TFI Friday’.
Sure enough, it was the first song they played. The trouble was I had to endure the rest of the back catalogue as I inched my way towards a £3.50 cup of tepid, brown fizz. Why oh why, eh?
Eventually, with two pints of something firmly in hand, and with my wife safely back from the Battle of Portaloo, we weaved our way towards a sensible position in readiness for Doves. The trouble was, once we’d found it, we were hard pushed to find anyone sensible in the immediate vicinity.
That’s what you get when you drive to a gig. While you’re sipping your hard-earned pint (and trying to make it last for about an hour), those around you are glugging their way through whisky, vodka and wine while persistently wetting themselves. Happy days for some, I suppose.
Five minutes into watching four silly little girls giggling and niggling in my face, I decided we should move. It didn’t get much better, although I did get a fantastic view of The Zuton’s Abi Harding and her sexyphone. That was a nice moment.
7.30 came and went, but no Doves. Luckily the crowd didn’t get overly restless. Most were too busy shouting, fighting or generally not taking any notice of anyone except themselves. Come on Doves, I thought, where are you when you’re needed most?
The piped music finally faded and the familiar strains of ‘Jetstream’ spread out across Myrtle Park. I’ve now decided that this song is the most sublime set-opener in the history of world music. It builds intensely and only kicks into gear once Andy begins pumping that bass drum. At Bingley, it certainly got everyone’s attention, and as usual it raised the hairs on the back of my neck.
‘Snowden’ is a Doves song that most non-fans would probably recognise, and they all did at Bingley. As Martin Rebelski began playing those spine-tingling opening notes on his ‘Poland’, the crowd was so stirred my neck hair almost floated away.
It was just before ‘Winter Hill’ that Jimi finally said hello. Despite the vast number of idiots in the audience, it was clear that most were extremely receptive to what he said. At one point, though, he heard a group of people chanting ‘you’re shit, you’re shit’ and then realised that he was in Yorkshire and they were, in fact, singing its praises. He laughed it off and so did we. This was a love-in.
‘Pounding’ began with a loud scream from the audience and off we all went into Lala land. Sadly, a couple of bald men near me felt it necessary to fall to the floor and cuddle each other in a rather aggressive way. When they were finally pulled apart, they’d acquired grown mud haircuts. That must be them, I thought –the greatest deniers.
The band tore through a mixture of old and new, and by the time they’d reached ‘Black and White Town’, the crowd were in raptures. It was around this point that someone –perhaps not enamoured with the quality of alcohol –decided to launch a pint towards the stage. It fell earthward before sonically bouncing off of Jimi’s guitar. Oh dear, I thought –Jimi’s going to cut you with a look.
He took a few seconds to compose himself before calmly admonishing the person for almost drenching a number of young children near the front. Children, I thought? What about the bass? Is it alright? Does it still work? Jimi stayed calm but soon drew a small sword shouting, “by the power of Greyskull!” Like the gas-mask-thing at Delamere, it was a bit lost on me. But I still laughed nonetheless. Oh to be a Doves fan.
I soon turned into a whirling Dervish near the end of ‘Caught by the River’. I was finally stopped from spinning by the band walking offstage. Will they return? What song will they return with? It turned out to be my favourite one, and it brought a lump to my throat.
‘The Cedar Room’ is always a firm favourite and it’s obvious why. But when it’s performed to a big crowd on a crisp sound system and in an enclosed setting, it’s completely awe-inspiring. I found myself (and thousands of others) in total, unadulterated bliss. If I could have sung it any louder I would have. Remarkably there was a man behind me who did. He was fantastic.
It got better. As the rhythm of ‘There Goes the Fear’ echoed around Myrtle Park before crashing to a halt, hundreds of people began spewing from the exits. I hesitated. My wife tried to drag me with her but I glanced back at the stage to see Jez disappearing with his guitar still slung around his chest. “No, they’re going to play it,” I said.
A few minutes later, in front of the few thousand remaining people, Doves walked onstage for their second encore. As I jumped to Spaceface with a bellyful of Tuborg, I glanced all around me. Every single person was up and dancing. Now that’s what you get when you hear Doves.
Thanks Paul! A brilliant review once again.