Whatever the reasons, these ‘classic album’ playthrough things are if nothing else, guaranteed crowd-pleasers.
You know the scenario (especially if you’re a Wedding Present fan, as the band have been here before) – take your elpee, wait a suitable amount of time (21 years seems to be about right) and take it on tour. Cue (largely) middle-aged (mainly) blokes around the country showing up to relive their own glory years as well as those of their favourites.
As I say, this isn’t new for David Gedge and co – George Best, Bizzaro and Seamonsters already getting the revisitation treatment. Tonight it’s a little different – a ‘Greatest Hits’ package, of sorts. Specifically, the Hit Parade albums which brought together the assault on our small screens and saw the Leeds four-piece take up residency in the top 30 in 1992 with an Elvis-equalling 12 hits – one for each month of the year.
First, however, what Peter Gabriel might have called the ‘appetisers’. The band, in business for close on 30 years, have a considerable back catalogue to draw from – from the trademark jangle of 2008’s ‘Spider-Man on Hollywood’ all the way back to an ever-frantic ‘Brassneck’.
In good humour, Gedge – looking as young as ever and in fine voice – jokes that his catchphrases are also available at the merch stall before “taking it down” with the “saddest song”, ‘Montreal’, as the venue’s legendary giant mirrorball spins into life.
New single ‘Two Bridges’ would, pleasingly, sit comfortably on any future ‘best of’ release. This is one 7” that won’t be troubling the charts however, being on sale from the merch stall, but aptly segues into The Hits.
The chronological run-through starts with January’s ‘Blue Eyes’ and is a real wallow in nostalgia for all present. For some, there’s the chance to get misty-eyed, with April’s ‘Silver Shorts’ dedicated to an assortment of couples in the crowd. As we hit July it transpires that ‘Flying Saucer’ was the fans’ favourite, at least according to a twitter vote, while nostalgia is not, we’re advised, well served via the video for ‘Love Slave’ – available on Youtube but ‘not a rewarding experience” according to the singer. “Still a great tune” he adds immodestly if accurately. (he’s probably right about the video as well).
And The Hits keep coming, all the way through to bottom of the poll ‘No Christmas’ – Gedge himself may disagree, but perhaps a balmy October evening is a little early for festivities.
Instead, the cheers and some light moshing are resevred for “the last piece of music” of the evening, ‘Favourite Dress’, which runs into their cover of ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ (as close as an encore as you’ll get with the Wedding Present). The tune descends into a squall of feedback which Elvis may not have approved of, but tonight, as in 1992, the title of King of the Charts has been taken by a young(er) pretender.