It's been a while since I mentioned the unexpected collision of live concerts I am seeing this Spring, mainly because I haven't been to any since Nelly Furtado at the end of February. However, all that changed at the weekend and I rattled through two back-to-back. I think it's fair to say that seeing Faithless and Dolly Parton on consecutive nights counts as practically the dictionary definition of contrast not least because I would be willing to bet any money that I alone represent any sub-set overlap in the two audiences.
Fig 1: poorly drawn mathematical illustration
The fact that one of the concerts (the former) took place in the Bournemouth International Centre may also play a part in that.
I've got lots to say about both concerts and the delights of Bournemouth and will get to all those things this week, but I'll start with Faithless today.
If not remotely familiar with Faithless and what they are all about, here's a speedy primer - three of their most well-known tracks:
Faithless God is a DJ
Faithless I want more
... all of which they performed. Pretty bangin', no?
Over ten years ago they also put a song out called Don't leave, which I bought as a single then and still completely adore. I had been looking forward to hearing that one but disappointingly it wasn't on the set list on Saturday. If you don't know it, Don't leave (which looking at the video, clearly was in that dreadful Danny Boyle film A Life Less Ordinary) is here.
I have to confess that whilst I have the Greatest Hits album, I have never been a slavish follower of Faithless, but MR, who organised the weekend and tickets, assured me that they were the best live act he has ever seen and that I simply had to go. It's a bold statement but MR is given to proclamations of this kind and so I thought I'd take him at his word. The whole Bournemouth thing came about because the Wembley date (later on this week) had sold out, so we decided to go regional and make a weekend of it. Plus also there are only so many trips a person can make to Middlesex in any given year.
Here are a series of photos taken at the show, starting with the best and then deteriorating quite quickly afterwards (make the most of these, by the way, the ones of Dolly are utterly dreadful):
Given that the Bournemouth International Centre is not particularly large, the set and staging was notably impressive. Looking at the list of places they are touring on the website, it's fairly clear that most of the other venues are rather more sizable, so the big stage/small hall effect on Saturday was akin to sitting in the front row of a cinema. With video screens everywhere and numerous performers, at times I wasn't sure where to look and the end result was of a massive bombardment of jagged shards of light and spitting, rattling, synths and beats.
It was really rather good.
The only slightly strange moment came at the end of the first half where they performed We come one and one of my fellow weekenders, JL, tapped me on the shoulder and suggested I turn around. Looking back, all I could see was men with one arm in the air pointing at the ceiling, jumping up and down, somewhat in the manner of a Hitler Youth rally. It was distinctly unnerving and made me realise that even when I have seen dance shows before (and I am thinking particularly of the Confessions Tour here) the vibe was never akin to that of a nightclub among the audience. Something of a new one on me.
In something of a first in these parts, here's a self-shot YouTube video to give the general idea...
Faithless at the Bournemouth International Centre