What's your gig fantasy?
We're up late, our friend Sam is in town - he tells us, when prompted, he would always love to go to a Doors gig - not just any Doors gig though. He wants to see one where they start with "that riff" - he's talking, of course, about Wild Child. That's how he wants the gig to start. From there The Doors can play anything - and (hopefully) everything. But that's his fantasy: seeing an on-form/in-form Doors bashing out their brand of blues and rock'n'roll. It's irrelevant that Jim Morrison died before Sam was born. That's hardly the point when it comes to gig fantasies.
We're watching the DVD Who Puts The 'M' in Manchester - a Morrissey concert, and that sets Katy off, obviously. (Regular readers will remember that, last year, Katy admitted to her Morrissey devotion right here.) She says her gig-fantasy, having never seen Morrissey, would be to see him perform a live set - sometime in the future ("but not too far in the future, not when he's too crusty"). She settles, when the DVD concludes, with "that would do; a set like that". So a mix of Morrissey and Smiths songs, the hits, as you'd expect. If she thinks about it more than that, she imagines herself in a new (future) version of her old self. So that means a talisman pack of cigarettes, probably a fresh journal and pen in the pocket of her three-quarter-length jacket/coat. But she's also making plans for a babysitter for Oscar (I hope it can be me - I have no plans to see Moz live) and dinner before the gig. To make an evening of it, then.
As I push this post into place I've decided to listen to Pink Floyd's Delicate Sound of Thunder - an album I adore, but hardly ever listen to. I have no need to listen to it now - I've done my time, many years ago, as a teen (and pre-teen, when it was first released). I wrote about Pink Floyd's Pulse -and all that it meant - but I'll always maintain that Delicate Sound is the better album/concert - it meant more. I guess it could be said that I bought Pulse, had any interest in it at all, because of Delicate Sound.
And I didn't even plan to listen to this - as I was writing the post. I really didn't. I realise it's now sounding a little doth protest too much - but I just scrolled through the iPod and found this album, arrived at it; it's late into the evening (or indeed early into the next morning) so why not...that's about all there is to it. Delicate Sound of Thunder? Well, it's been a while. Go on...
We were in Auckland the night of the Pink Floyd concert. I was still a primary school student but I was obsessed with Pink Floyd's music. I didn't know all of it - but I knew enough! And I wanted to see the gig. I wanted to go. We had a family friend who worked for a radio station, back in the late 1980s, back when that might have actually meant something. He told us he'd "make a call"; he'd sort tickets for everyone. He was hoping for eight comps, so both families could go. If he could not get eight he'd get four. Then the two dads would take the sons - there were three sons between the two families, so if all wanted to go they'd buy an extra ticket. In the end two comps were offered. And it was decided that the two eldest boys would go. My folks determined that my (older) brother would be a chaperone - he'd take me, they'd pay for my ticket (as the youngest) because the son from the other family (our friends) would be going too.
But my brother decided he wouldn't go - he spat the dummy. This meant I couldn't go. I was 11 years old and - realistic or not - all I wanted to do at that time, right then, right there, was attend the Pink Floyd show. But it was not to be. My brother was not budging, he decided he didn't want to go - and in the scheme of things, the way it had been pre-planned, that sabotaged my Pink Floyd show. The family friend attended. He took one of his mates - and was probably, back then, the talk of the town. His father the radio advertising guy. Free tickets. Pink Floyd. No big thing. Too easy.
The details of just how much of a jerk I was to my family, for not being allowed to tag along to this gig, are lost to me now - and with several lifetimes of comp-tickets (many very annoying in their level of obligation) I've clearly made up for the lost time. But I do recall being offered the chance to buy an album for the return car-ride from Auckland to Hawke's Bay. So I bought Pink Floyd's A Momentary Lapse of Reason - their album from that time. We listened to it in the car. The whole family hated it. With everything they could summon. As soon as Signs of Life kicked in they hated it and I loved it. It was my new favourite album - partly because I loved it, partly because the family hated it. And then I would collect the Delicate Sound of Thunder live album (and VHS tape) on a trip to Australia a year (or so) later.
If I'm to answer honestly - if I'm to go back in time to a time that actually happened, then absolutely, 100 per cent, I want in at that gig - I want the chance to see the version of Pink Floyd that I was so close to seeing...
Since then - we're talking 1987-88 - I've been lucky to see so many musical artists, some many times; some with the promise/chance of interviewing, or as a follow-up for interviewing. Some of them have been assignments, nothing more - just a job. I file a review, quick-smart, just after the gig (or even while it's still playing out). I've done well to see The Rolling Stones twice, and Bob Dylan three times and Nick Cave, Neil Young, Paul Simon and so many legends.
But my one dream gig - my gig-fantasy if you like - would have been to see Pink Floyd on that 1987-1988 tour. I don't care if the Pulse tour from 1994-5 was better. That Delicate Sound album/tour meant so much to me - a constant source of reference at the height of my Floyd fandom. And if I could have given anything to see it - futile though that is, now - I would. And yes, I'm angry, in an utterly irrational, over-privileged and 11-year-old-demanding kind of way. But that's as it is. I don't feel bad that I can't let that go. It's just as it is. I missed my window, my chance - and I'll never forget it. If I let myself down I'm angry with my folks, my brother, our family friends - their son, especially. (I mean if he wasn't such a goofball, so untrustworthy, my parents would have let me tag along with him!)
It's ridiculous really - but I'll always think of this. Certainly any time I play either Delicate Sound of Thunder or A Momentary Lapse of Reason. (And they're such great albums, both of them - again, I don't play them that often these days, but I know them inside out.)
So that's, to this day, my gig fantasy. I'm there at that Auckland Pink Floyd gig. I don't ever think about who I'm with, I don't care. But often, sad as you might consider it to be, I've imagined myself, giving it my 11-year-old-all best - shouting along to lyrics, air-guitaring, worshipping at the altar of what I (at the time) found so sacred.
I'm sure I've had many experiences with music that were better than that - but that's the one I'll never have. So it remains my gig fantasy.
Now I want to know what your one was/is? Are you super-bummed for missing a super live act or is there an international musical hero that you've never seen on these shores and would love to?
Detail below your gig fantasy. Are there exiting gigs that you've missed and later been told were "must-see"? Or are you a gig-attender who manages to get to everything you wish - and you've seen everything you have wanted to see?
Past, present or future - what is your gig fantasy? What's the show you hope never to miss out on? Or what is the show you've already missed out on that you wished you saw?