Today we are going back to the Corn Exchange in Cambridge, and it is bound to be an awesome gig! I do like the Corn Exchange as a venue, big, but small enough to get that intimate feel. The Waterboys are playing tonight, I don’t know them too well, but Neil assures me I will know more songs than I realise.
This time we wont be caught up in traffic, hopefully. we going to try a different route, and leave a bit earlier if possible.
We get there in good time, but parking is obviously not as easy today, we have to drive up and down a few times but get lucky eventually. Earlier on, when we drove past the Corn Exchange, there was quite a queue already…looks like it might be a mission to get to the front today. Especially as the Corn Exchange is long rather than wide, that means there isn’t room for many frontrowers.

The queue has gone down when we arrive, people have already been let in, get the tickets checked and our hands stamped, and in we go! It isn’t too bad actually, most people are loitering by the bar, we go through the next set of doors, and yes, the front row is taken, we do find a spot behind a couple of girls, so it’s ok we’ll have a great view. There does seem to be a bit of a gap between a couple of guys, I assume they are waiting for people to join them, so I’ll behave and wont push in. We get chatting to the two girl in front of us, one of them is very excited, she has seen them many times, her friend behind her is a Waterboys virgin, as I am come to think of it. How can I have missed seeing so many great bands in my youth? Meanwhile a couple turned up to my right and had the cheek to claim that spot on the barriers, I missed out there, then again, those two people were quite short, so I can’t be too cross.

There wasn’t going to be a support band tonight, the show was split into 2 parts, the old stuff and the new material. Hence the fact we didn’t have to wait too long, the band come on stage and the anticipation was amazing, felt a little bit like the calm before the storm. they started the set with “Rags”, followed by “all the things she gave me”, the sound quality was superb, well done Corn Exchange again, you are fast turning into my favourite venue, if only you weren’t so far away.
Mike Scott‘ presence on stage is brilliant, I liked the bit were he said ” Love songs are us” , he reminisces about the first time he played at the Corn Exchange, he had a fight with the girlfriend and could see her glaring at him from the side of the stage. Scott moved between the microphone at the center of the stage and the piano, Steve Wickham is awesome playing the fiddle, you can’t help but being drawn to him. A young girl, Irish singer Katie Kim join in for a few songs.  After about 40 minutes the band took a break  for about 20 minutes, that was actually quite nice, we had a chance to “rearrange” ourselves, talk to the people around us, because as the atmosphere shifted people were far more chatty. the young man to my right told me he has seen them many many times, first time in the eighties. My fellow Waterboys virgin enjoyed it very much too. I have to say, the one thing that annoyed me a little was the constant chatting of people during the set, especially the short couple that pushed in the front, why do people do that? You pay a lot of money to see a band, you push your way to the front, and than you chat loudly! I really don’t get it!!

The second half consisted of Mike Scott’s last album, An appointment with Mr. Yeats, I hadn’t really listen to it, but Neil wasn’t to sure, he thought is was very different and he couldn’t make his mind up if he liked it.
I have to say it was different, in a strange way pulling me in to his world, seeing the show I was quite mesmerised, but I’m not sure I would listen to it at home.  Wickham and Hallawell came on stage wearing Venetian masks, they seem to be duelling with each other, Mike Scott appeared with a different mask on and starts reciting “The second Coming”. Fantastic.
this has left me with quite a mix of feelings, exhilaration from the first half, well known songs to sing along to and the magical musical play on stage…..
For the first encore we get “the whole of the moon” and “don’t bang the drum”. And yes, there is a second encore, woohooo, “a man is in love” and to finish with “Fishermann’s Blues”, it throws you right back to the first part of the show. I also manage to bag myself a set list….
I have to say that was an awesome gig to watch, everything seemed to work and feel right. I’m seriously considering Cornbury Festival tickets, it would be interesting to see what set the Waterboys play in a Festival setting.

We leave through one of the side doors, totally forgetting to pick up a ticket for me to keep :-(. But, my good friend Neil just told me that he has one for me, he phoned the Corn Exchange on the off chance if they still have the tickets, and they did, plus tour flyers. thank you 🙂


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!

9 responses »

  1. Martina Weidmann says:

    So no frontrow ?? That is a change !! Lol… Good reading though !

  2. Sue Hartle says:

    I have just been sent this from Neil Wentford. The Neil you mention in the blog? I work in the press office for Cambridge City Council, I am so pleased you like our venue, we try hard to compete with the London ones and have a few big names appearing soon. Thankyou so much for the write up, hope to see you again soon.

    • FrontRowStef says:

      Thank you Sue, yes, it is the same Neil :-)! And you will see us very soon for the Lost Prophets.

      • Sue Hartle says:

        well i don’t know how much you are paying him, but he deserves a raise, We had at least 15 e mails to various different parts of the council and the venue, so he is doing a very good job of promoting your blog. Everyone had a look befroe sending me the e mails.

      • FrontRowStef says:

        :-)…..I’m just a very lucky girl to have a good friend like that!

  3. Sue Hartle says:

    just thought you would like to know that Neil has so far sent us 28 e mails that i know of. Your blog has caused quite a stir here, it is so nice to get positive feed back from customers. If you have no objection i would like to circulate this around the appropriate council departments or at least the ones Neil missed.

    • FrontRowStef says:

      Thank you for letting me/us know, of course I haven’t got any objections for the blog to be passed on! Credit were credit is due :-), Neil will be pleased!

  4. Andrew Deybell says:

    Cambridge Corn Exchange is one of the buildings i look after as the Cambridge Council Event manager. I just wanted to add my thanks for this positive review.

    I hope you enjoy The Lost Prophets and hope to see you at future events. We have Elvis Costello in May, Level 42 and Jools Holland in October, The Civil Wars, The Human League and Squeeze in November and more being booked.

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