The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a struggle but, not for the first time, Suede galloped to my rescue last night. I wasn't sure if I was even going to be going until quite close to the event. Then Charlie gave me a shout to see if I could help out on the merch stand. It was a work night for me so I wasn't sure I could make it, but I roped in my chum Andy to help and then wangled an hour off work so I could man the fort till 11.
En route to the 100 Club I noticed I was shaking uncontrollably which perturbed me somewhat until I realised this was a phenomenon called "excitement". Arriving at the venue was a bit like starring in my own version of This Is Your Life as the old crew all emerged from the woodwork: Charlie, Bennie, Richard, Pete, Kim, Rob, Shaun and many, many other names that will mean very little to most people reading this twaddle. Suffice to say, it was a very emotional reunion. I don't think I've been hugged that much since, ooh, I dunno, my christening?
The same thing happened again when the doors opened and the fans came trickling in (there wasn't the mad scrum I'd been expecting, but I think a lot of the tickets had gone to special guests and the like). I must admit I could hardly place names to most of the people I was embracing and shaking hands with, but it was a lovely, lovely feeling. A bit like attending your own funeral without having to go to the bother of dying.
I must say, I hadn't been hugely excited about the prospect of a Suede reunion. I mean, I must have seen them somewhere between 50 and 100 times and heard their songs many, many times more than that. But as soon as they came on I was up on the merch desk, dancing like a twat.
They played it fairly safe songwise, opening with a triumvirate of crowd pleasers that I'd count among my least favourite Suede songs: She, Trash, Animal Nitrate. But I had to admit, they were stunningly powerful. By the coda of Animal Nitrate I had goose bumps down the back of my neck and left the swag stall in Andy's capable hands to join the heaving throng.
The only songs that might conceivably considered surprises were (and I'm doing this all from memory, I'm sure the set will be somewhere online if you want cold hard fact rather than my romantic recall) Pantomime Horse, Asphalt World (which seemed a bit shorter than usual, though I might have imagine that) plus a solo Living Dead. Otherwise it was all the hits you'd expect: Filmstar, Flashboy, Heroine, Everything Will Flow (sounding surprisingly good here, always an underrated number I reckon), Can't Get Enough, She's In Fashion, etc. The only real clunker was Obsessions which the band seemed to have forgotten how to play and Brett sounded like he'd given up singing it properly after the first verse. I've got a bit of a soft spot for A New Morning, so it's a shame that was the only track picked from there as it was never a great song. Still, it gave us all time to calm down before the closing salvo of So Young, Metal Mickey, New Generation and a particularly jubilant Beautiful Ones.
Brett seemed in quite a suitably angry mood, but somehow recaptured the animalistic show-off of the 94-96 vintage rather than the slightly embarrassing Robbie Williams' dad impersonator of later years. He looked great too, as did the rest of the band. Particularly lovely to see Richard on such fine form. Neil fans will be pleased to know that he has ditched the Jesus beard and long hair and now looks about 22 again. They encored with Saturday Night and that was that. 90 minutes had passed in a flash and I skipped off to work feeling very much like Cinderella after copping off with Prince Charming.
Anybody going to the Albert Hall on Wednesday should be in for a treat. See you down the front. Actually, I'll probably be propping up the bar, trying to look cool. And failing miserably.