We’d seen them at The Cavern in 2018 when they celebrated 30 years of Tommy and it came as no surprise to see that the setlist for tonight’s performance was along the same format as before, playing the entire album but peppered throughout the set and interspersed with B-Sides and classics from their enormous back catalogue which spans back to 1987.
Upon entering the venue, I wasn’t surprised to see David Gedge stood at the merchandise table, chatting to fans, posing for photos and signing CD’s, I guess it’s what’s needed to be done these days and as far back as I can remember, he has ALWAYS been accessible at shows and happy to chat to anyone about just about anything, something the newer bands of today should take note of….
The evening’s entertainment kicked off with a Welsh 5 piece called MELYS from Betws-y-Coed, which, after a bit of ‘to-ing and fro-ing’ my Welsh mate told me it meant ‘Sweet’. They formed in 1996 and recorded none other than eleven Pell sessions for John Peel during his tenure on Radio 1 and also appeared in his ‘Festive Fifty’ in 2001, are you seeing the link here?
They played some beautiful indie pop tracks lifted from their 17 albums (yes folks, 17!) and received a wonderful reaction from the near capacity audience that had amassed in the auditorium to see their heroes.
After a short break and a stage shuffle, the room was set, ready for The Wedding Present to take control for the remainder of the evening.
Opening with ‘Rotterdam’, the audience slowly eased into the groove and were warmed up nicely prior to the band launching into ‘Brassneck’, ‘Crushed’ and ‘No’, the first three tracks from Bizarro, I was instantly transported back to my bedroom, listening to the album on a cassette purchased from Woolworths for £5.99 (I know this as I still have it!)
When the opening high pitched jangled chords of ‘Kennedy’ rang out, the room lost it and for the next 4 minutes, everyone was rucking, moshing and jumping around to what for me, is quite possibly their finest song.
It was nice to see ‘Wow’, a Cinerama track making it onto the setlist as well as classic Wedding Present material, the audience were certainly more than familiar with it and sang along heartily.
After ‘Bewitched’, Gedge introduced Danielle Wadey and she took centre stage to tease us with her ‘Fact of the Day’ which was obviously related to Exeter, the question was, “Exeter is famous for having the oldest what…..?”, many answers were thrown back to the stage, ‘pub’, ‘giraffe’ and ‘cathedral’ but it was the heckler that shouted ‘lead singer’ which caused David to beam from ear to ear before warning the audience to ‘watch their backs’ as he’s the one on the stage playing the music! For those of you who want the answer to the ‘Fact of the Day question’, Exeter is famous for having the oldest civic building, yep, I learned something at the show too!
With ‘Take Me’ and ‘Be Honest’ ticking off all of the tracks from Bizarro, Gedge took time to introduce the band, Danielle Wadey on guitar, Melanie Howard on bass, Charles Layton on drums (and what a phenomenal drummer he is!) and explained that as they don’t do encores, this was going to be the final track of the evening before launching headfirst into ‘Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm’.
As they left the stage, I looked around the room to see hundreds of satisfied faces, they’d all come to see a band perform one of their classic album’s in its entirety and judging by the looks on their faces, they did just that and more.
The late, great John Peel once said, ‘The boy Gedge has written some of the best love songs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Era. You may dispute this, but I’m right and you’re wrong!’, we couldn’t agree more sir!
Click HERE to see all of the photos we took throughout the evening
Review and Photos by Steve Muscutt