David Gedge has always been reputedly one of the most torn-faced curmudgeons in indie-royalty. Evidentally schlepping about his debut album to commemorate it’s 20th anniversary isn’t helping. tonight you can see writ big across his face the fact that not only is this not what he regards as the pinnacle of his career, but that it’s not even the best (or most successful) of The Wedding Present‘s stuff in his opinion. He chides the audience for getting to eager “No need to shout mate, your only ten feet from me”. But, he will just have to accept the fact that George Best (for that is the album in question) is just one of those records. Not only does it sound as fresh today as it did back then, but were it to be released next week you would still get the idea that it had just been parachuted in from some completely alien culture leaving you marvelling just where the hell it came from.
So, first off, to rub our faces in our nostalgic stupidity, he opens with a short best-of-the-rest set from not only the Weddoes but also Cinerama. The latter effectively being tonight’s band. A band you would be forgiven for believing weren’t born when this was first released. But, then it looks like that for most of the audience too. And, by god it’s good. It leaves me kicking myself for there being too few times I’ve bothered to go see the man when he’s in town. There’s even a new song, the uncharacteristically titled Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Very Drunk. It’s also damn fine.
There’s a mock wrestling style countdown and then the main attraction. You can almost feel the tension in the crowd; who’s jumping the highest when he gets to the “…do you…” bit at the start of Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft. And, boy, we do. What can I tell you? A Million Miles makes you realise just how unromantic you are. Your Favourite Dress hits you in that place that makes you think you misjudged youerself earlier. And, Give My Regards To Kevin breaks your heart the same way it does every time. It’s marvellous. Of course there’s no major wigging or reworking of the material. That’s not the purpose of these types of tour. As said, although we’re loving it, it’s obviously to Mr G’s chagrin. But, it’s not a carbon-copy reproduction time here. There’s only so much concession he’s willing to cede for the money this tour must be pulling. Effectively, we get the Albini/Cinerama influenced remastering of it. Some of the high toned driving guitars are missing. The parts are there, just not so prominent. (It’s weird the nostalgia thing finally catching up with the age you are. I’m not too sure how I feel about it.) Someone shouts for Nowhere Fast. Disparaging, the relpy comes “wasn’t on the original, you moron” (ok, I added those last two words myself, but they were certainly implied). And that’s us told.
Afterwards, they barrel through Kennedy and Blue Eyes, again to show us the foolishness of our ways. But, no matter how evidentally little Gedge wants to be here it falls on deaf ears. There are grown men weeping with joy. I may be among them, or that could’ve just been the smoke machine. Nothing he can say or do is gonna take this from us.