Driving to Cambridge in “going home” traffic is a mission and a half! Traffic, traffic, traffic…..never mind which shortcut or secret route you take; cars (with drivers that don’t know how to drive) are everywhere. It took us a good 2 hours to finally hit Cambridge, now, parking!! Even though Rachel from work told me where to go (for parking that is)…..nothing makes sense now…!  Anyway we catch sight of the venue and finally find a single yellow line where we are allowed to park after 6:30pm, and it’s only 5 minutes walk away.

When we get to the Corn Exchange loads of people are already there, it did open an hour ago, so it is to be expected….just the possibility of my rightful place seems to diminish. We make our way in, interesting place, the entrance reminds me a little of Ally Pally, just a much much smaller scale, a big area, with the Merch stand, bars and cloakroom…..at the other end are another set of door, we go through and this is where its happening.  The first band Triggerfinger is already doing their bit. We weave our way to the front, and to my surprise it is not that packed, we get a good place in the second row. We manage to catch 2 songs of Triggerfinger, not enough really for me to decide if they did it for me.  While we waiting for the next support band Clutch to come on we get talking to people around us, again I find it fascinating what you learn about people in a few minutes. The guy standing to my right: He’s never seen Thin Lizzy either, but he has seen Status Quo 136 times and that cost him two wives…it did make me laugh, maybe a Status Quo fan as the next bride?! We also got chatting to Mike in front of me, he works at Silverstone with a racing team, Renault I think (correct me if I’m wrong Mike) and he has seen Thin Lizzy many times! He said he’ll swap with me later, that would be brilliant!
Finally Clutch appears on stage, hmmm, I don’t think they are quite me, a bit to metal. But they do have a following, a lot of youngsters have pushed to the centre front to shout and scream their support. It is a rather mixed bag of ages, which is good to see……music knows no boundaries!
I see Mike taking pictures with a rather nice camera, but I also see the security guard coming over to tell him off. Apparently you are allowed the little snappy cameras but not anything more decent, I kind of understand either side, but theses day’s it is very hard to stop photos being taken….I saw a great sketch on FB not long ago, I might steal it and put it in here…..
Clutch finished  and a lot of activity is happening on stage, everything seems to be cleared off, but no drums…ahhh, they must be behind the curtains!!  No set list, what? NO SET LISTS….hang on, there is one on the side by the roadies….
Meanwhile Mike said to swap with him, I said are you sure…and he was! I felt a tiny bit guilty because of Neil, but than he is much taller than me!! I realised later there was another reason for Mike to swap, he could still take pics with his camera, as he said: there are more than one way to skin a cat! I started talking to the girl on my left (funny how you instinctively know who will talk to you and who wont, the bloke on my right was a no go area), I had to congratulate her! When we arrived she was in the second row, than one hand onto the railings, an elbow and eventually we stood side by side, no pushing or chaffing involved……that is the way to do it, nobody get’s annoyed or bruised!  She did come a bit of a way too, and she tries to go to at least 2-3 gigs a month…there must be something about our age group, I come across a lot of more mature people dedicated to life music,  🙂 , I’m happy to say I’m one of them!

At last it’s time for Thin Lizzy, they starting with “are you ready”, you can see little lights behind the curtain, the band starts playing, still hidden from the fans. After the intro  the curtain goes up revealing all the band members, Thin Lizzy lit up in coloured lights, oh yes this is going to be great! They are doing a great job, the crowed is instantly mesmerised.  The only thing that disturbed me a little was the sound quality and volume, is it only me? Do I have super sensitive ears? Come on people; let’s have some feedback here please.
However I do have earplugs and I’m using them!

They go straight into “jailbreak” and “bad reputation”, the lead singer Ricky Warwick who took the role in 2010 I think did very well, I never saw Phil Lynott live so I can’t really compare, but Neil said he did well, he tried to be less “Irish” which was much better apparently! They don’t stop much between songs just go straight into the next one, “dancing in the moonlight” and of course “still in love with you”…..love it! There is nothing worse than bands buying time by talking a lot between songs, we are there to hear them sing, not talk!
There is a lot of interaction on stage, musician playing together, swapping sides on the stage, giving the drummer the spotlight for a moment, jumping up and down ….generally being rock stars! Loving it loving it loving it! “whisky in a jar”, “suicide”…” cowboy song” and of course “boys are back in town”, everybody in the crowd is now involved one way or other, singing, dancing and clapping, a fantastic atmosphere! At some point they shower us in silver confetti…… I swapped places with Neil for the last few songs, I should have done it earlier but just got carried away with the moment.
Thin Lizzy finish their encore with “black rose” , they take a bow, again, this is something the young bands don’t do these days, and wave as they go off stage. Good old Neil managed to catch one of Scott Gorham’s plectrums and handed it straight to me… 🙂 thank you!
And that was it, people are leaving the auditorium and I of course loiter at the barriers trying to catch the eye of one of the techies.  I manage it and sign “ can I please have  the set list” to him, he is being mean for a while and pretends not to understand….but than he goes and gets the one pinned up on the side of the speaker and hands it straight to me. Thank you, you are my favourite Roadie…I actually can’t believe I managed to get the list….!
We say our goodbyes to Mike and exchange web addresses and emails and we are off on our way!
Going home was much easier…..and my ears are ringing, despite earplugs…..it was loud, but brilliant!! Thank you Jana, yet again…… 🙂


About FrontRowStef

Following months of putting in the necessary hours of research, I have been bullied into writing a blog about my gig experiences! I can’t claim in-depth technical musical knowledge, or a massive CD collection, but, I know what I like and what doesn’t sound good in a live setting. I’m not intending to write great reviews about bands, but more of stuff that happen to me while out and about. Like when a dear friend of mine pointed out that it looks like I’m putting my towel down when I hit the barriers at the front and claim my spot with my jacket draped over the railings. What does he mean? Is it because I’m German? Enough introductions, you will get to know me sooner or later! Oh and apparently I’m going to be referred to as Front Row Stef, simply because that is my rightful place!

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