Thursday, May 31, 2007

Being a Marc fan

The Brighton gang!, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Just like old times and I had forgotten just how good they could be... a Marc Almond concert. Of course, it is great to see Marc, but in recent years (since say about 1998) they have become social events, where one meets fellow fans before, during and after.

The last time Marc was giving lots of concerts was 2001 on his own account and then 2002 with Soft Cell. Since then he had a near-fatal motorbike accident in 2004, from which he has about recovered. He ventured out earlier in the month to give three performances at Wiltons Music Hall, the first night of which, apparently, was a nerve-wracking experience.

I missed out on tickets so it was good to be invited by the BBC to the Mermaid Theatre where they were recording some songs from the new album Stardom Road, for broadcasting tomorrow on Friday night is Music night on BBC Radio 2. I had arranged to meet Ange, a friend who I had made on the Theatre of Marc Almond';s messageboard, before it was taken over by anonymous negative people who used the board as a platform to vent their won frustrations. I was also due to meet Dino and his partner Paul for the first time, so it was good to be surprised by meeting all sorts of other fans as well, like the Brighton gang, the 'boys' from Liverpool and, finally, Niall from Dublin who turned up in the Black Friar pub after putting his wife and two children to bed in the hotel opposite. They had all made the trip over from Dublin for the concert!

Before the internet, being a Marc Almond fan was quite a lonely experience, there not being all that many other fans around. There used to be fan club conventions in the 1980's but they were not exactly the most sociable of events. Internet provided a means through which Marc fans could find each other more easily.

So, Marc sang some songs with the BBC Orchestra and some with his band, including Martin Watkins on piano and Neal X on guitar. He sang some new songs, including a Charles Aznavour funeral song, a Dusty Springfield hit, a Gene Pitney rarity (Stardom Road is an album of covers), finishing off with his number one and number three hits: Somethings Gotten Hold Of My Heart and a sing-a-long Say Hallo Wave Goodbye. In between we heard some old fashioned Radio 2 instrumentals, including a very famous song called Stardust, which has been sung by many crooners but which none of us had ever recalled hearing. Not exactly my cup of tea. A young Liverpool singer called Jade (how I hate that name!) Gallagher sang three songs, the last of which was the best.

So, after the concert it was off to the pub, with Ange, Dino and Paul and the Brighton gang, later to be joined by Niall, to down some quick beers and talk about our various Marc experiences, our favourite songs, albums and concerts. Great fun!
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