Today we are going to Wembley Arena; I won tickets for Frank Turner, result!!
I have no idea who he is or how good he is, I haven’t had time to check him out, but I guess performing at the arena must mean he has a large following. So I’m ready to be blown away!
I was pretty sure the tickets I won were seated, so we didn’t rush too much to get to Wembley, we parked at Kingsbury and from there it was only one stop on the Tube, easy! And if the worst came to the worst we could actually walk back to the car. The last time I was here was for Styx/Foreigner/Journey...another epic concert!
As we had to pick up guest list tickets I checked with a steward where to queue, he said this one, so we went to the end and waited! I did wonder if we were in the right queue and went to check again, apparently we are! There were a lot of people that obviously knew each other, a lot of “great to see you” and “we been here since 12”, this gig is looking more and more promising.
I have to admit, Neil and I are a little pre-occupied, our friend Jana, she works for Island Def Jam Music Group in New York, and I have been planning this little fundraiser for cancer charity’s, and today was the day for it to go live.
The way it worked was that as many people as possible had to display the F*ck Cancer photo as their profile picture on Facebook, for every hour and every person it was displayed we roughly earned $10 through various sponsors, the main ones were The Universal Music Group and Ticket Master. At the point of queuing we were on about 300 face book users displaying the picture.
We started talking to the young man in front of us, I told him that I had won the tickets and have no idea what to expect. He was very nice and said he has seen him many many times and that he was hoping we would enjoy the gig. While we were waiting a couple of young boys came up to him, wondering if he still had T-shirts and that they had met in Reading last year….? Strange! Finally the queue started moving, when we where nearly at the box office window, a photographer comes up to the young man in front of us apologising that he didn’t make it to his gig at the Barfly last night, now I’m curious who he is. The photographer takes a couple of pictures and then it’s the young man’s turn to get his ticket. I ask the photographer who he is, I didn’t catch his name but he has played in Frank Turners band. I will have to do some research when I get home :-). When it was our turn to get the tickets I found out I was standing in the wrong queue after all, this was Frank Turners guest list, not your commonal garden competition winner, that would explain why Ben Marwood (I have found out his name since) was in this queue. I was thinking about getting annoyed with the staff for making us queue in the wrong one, but then I wouldn’t have met Ben, I couldn’t have told him all about our cancer campaign nor give him an FRS badge……So I will let them off this time!!!! 🙂
Anyway, we manage to get our tickets, and yes they were seated. It’s not too bad though, fairly close to the front and only a few rows up. It does feel strange though to be sitting rather than standing, it just isn’t as exciting!
There are 3 support bands tonight, Beans on Toast is first up. On his Face book page he describes himself as a Drunk Folk Singer, and he may just have a point. He is funny, very funny! I don’t think he managed to finish a whole song as he gets sidetracked or makes a mistake halfway thru, he is hilarious. With his song for the children of Bedford “M.D.M.Amazing” he has the crowd in his hand, everybody seems to love him. He finishes his 20 minute set with a spot of crowd surfing, all the way to the back of the arena, brilliant!
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip were up next, I had heard the name before but never actually looked them up. One is a DJ and the other a singer, hip-hop music I would say. Even though I find myself tapping my foot at times I actually got bored, it seems very samey, one track sounds like the other, and I have to admit I don’t get the DJ and singer combination, I like to have a band performing rather than singing to a CD. It could well be that in a different setting I would really get into the dancing with this guys, in hind sight I feel they were out of place supporting Frank Turner.
Next artist is Billy Bragg, again it means nothing to me. Neil tells me he’s been around a long time and has very English/political lyrics. There were a lot of Billy Bragg followers in the crowd, I did feel a little left out as I didn’t know any of the lyrics and everybody seemed to be singing along. Purely judged for his performance and stage presence Billy is doing a brilliant job, he has the crowd in the palm of his hand. Even further up where we are people find it hard to stay in their seats. I’m somewhat confused by his songs, but I guess not being English doesn’t help. Even though Thatcher was still in power when I came over to the UK I didn’t spend much time following politics, I was too busy learning english and get used to British life. That is my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!
Last but not least it is more or less Frank Turners turn. I still find myself looking longingly at the standing area, I should be at the barriers not stuck in a seat…lol. I did spot some empty places further down our row and if nobody has turned up after Frank’s first song we’ll be moving down there.
We still get an up-date of the cancer campaign from Jana from time to time and the number of pictures displayed has now climbed up to about 700, that is so amazing, Neil can hardly believe it, it is after all because of him! 🙂
Apparently this is Frank’s first headlining gig, and even though it doesn’t seem to be completely sold out he should be really pleased and judging be the cheering, clapping and screaming you would think it’s a sell out. This guy must be something really special. When he finally runs onto stage the crowd can hardly contain themselves, I learn later that he started with a song called “Eulogy”……and what can I say? I’m amazed, he sounds amazing, this wall of rhythms, lyrics come straight at you and wrap you up to take you away to another dimension! Yes, you guessed, I’m blown away, totally, the energy and love that is being felt is awesome.
Nobody else turned up to claim the spaces further along the row, so Neil and I move, and I’m glad we did! We have real party people around us, which makes it so much easier to join in! There are 4 young girls in front, having the best time and two couples next to me enjoying it to the full.
Little up-date on the cancer fundraiser: at 10pm the picture was 1003 times…woohooo!
Back to Frank Turner, he plays a mix of old and new songs, one very new song, called “four simple words”, some covers, I totally loved his version of the Queen song “somebody to love” . Some of his songs like “Wessex boy” are supported by Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo‘s. He plays songs with his full band, but also acoustically, his talent is endless. He ask his Mum to come on stage for “Dan’s Song”, they have a bit of a cheeky banter and his Mum proceeds to play the harmonica for him, how great must that feel for both of them! As his Mum you on stage performing a song with your son, as a son having your Mum on stage with you. After Frank went off stage before the encore, the big screens on either side of the stage came to life, it took a second or two to realise that it was actually a live stream from backstage. Frank was having a tattoo done, there and then….what a great idea, and he let us all watch!
He did the Bob Dylan cover “Times are changing” to start his encore and invites Billy Bragg on stage for that one. Somewhere I read that Frank Turner is Billy Bragg for the younger generation, that both are using their music to make you listen and say something worth saying….nice way of putting it! The finale was very spectacular too, massive confetti bombs exploded all over the arena, little gold and silver strips of foil and long golden strands, it looked magical. He held up his guitar and it said “thank you” on the back of it…..he linked arms with his band and they all took a bow, and that was it!
All together Frank performs 24 songs, that is quite a set list, and no, I’m far too far away from the stage to get my hands on one of those, thank god for the internet 😉
Mr. Turner, you blew me away, well, not just me everybody at the arena are exhausted from clapping, dancing, singing….awesome gig!
Thank you Wembley for making me a winner in more than one way!!!
And yes, we have bought tickets for the next one already, Oxford here we come 😉
Our Cancer Fundraising campaign had a amazing result, final count of displayed profile pictures 1025.
Money raised: $97,420, which was round up by one sponsor to $100.000
Charities to benefit:
Love Hope Strength Foundation UK
Baylor Institute in Dallas
Thank you to everyone who supported us, what an amazing result!