We should borrow Rachel's dad's car more often! This, the third gig in a row we've hopped into the big Rover, followed some heroic mileage from Rach, scooting back from a work meeting in London, picking up said motor, picking me up, then driving us back oop the Smoke! The very recent easing of the current traffic chaos was back off the agenda again, though (damn!), as it took 2 3/4 hours to get to our usual parking slot just before Highbury Corner. Had a swift drink in the Old Cock Tavern before heading in, noting the numbers of old rockers out for tonight's show. There's going to be a lot of hair around tonight, and no mistake...!
Took an early wander in to our second sold-out gig in consecutive nights, and sure enough, it was heaving early doors. I dunno, give me Seafood in a half-empty Oxford Point anytime...! I was also right about the clientele. This was the third of a 3 night residency by Da Trick, each night concentrating on one of their first 3 albums, and by the looks of it Rach and myself were the only people who hadn't been to all 3 nights! There was also lots of first time round Trick fans, putting me into the unique position of feeling very very young at a rock show. Plus hair. Hair everywhere. The only excuse for not having long hair seemed to be the vagaries of nature!
So, long hair it was. And as such, we had to put up with a couple of members of recently reformed 80's hair glam metallers The Quireboys, who'd allegedly been "especially invited" by Da Trick to open tonight. A good tactic to make them seem even better, methinks! Sure enough, the acoustic Quireboys were as obnoxious and cliché ridden as they were first time around; husky, pseudo sexy vocals, big empty power riffs and lighters-aloft bollocks. Rach and I headed to the bar and did our level best not to fall asleep to them!
Wandered to a vantage point stage right, by some rather annoying old people standing on the benches down the side of the venue, and not being too welcoming to a bit of jostling. Sorry, but it's a rock gig, not an executive box at the opera...
And rock gig it was, as we got very startlingly reminded, by the entrance of Da Trick. Zander, all suited up and looking like the rock star from central casting, with tan and blond locks; Bun E Carlos, hefty and workmanlike, like Tom Polce's dad (!); Petersson, suited but unkempt, wearing his rock credentials in the lines on his face; and then band leader Rick Nielsen - first a hand, then an energetic entrance from the wild-eyed, becapped but now beardless showman. As this was "Heaven Tonight" night, we knew what was coming, but the Trick built the anticipation, until... the bright lights and thundering riff heralded the start of "Surrender", and the crowd, old boys, hairy boys, everyone, went bat-shit mental. "Surrender", powerful, awesome and with that breathtaking sing-along chorus, was the perfect opener, and the best thing the Trick delivered tonight, by miles.
"Heaven Tonight" was then dutifully played start to finish, although not without incident; Roy Wood being dragged onstage to an ovation, to sing his composition, the strident blues number "California Man"; Zander strapping on a guitar and joining in the mad riffery for "Takin' Me Back"; Tommy Vance (even he!) reading the "On The Radio" middle 8 broadcast, and Chrissie Hynde (even she!) duetting with Zander on one number.
But this was mainly about the Trick. I'd taken some time to warm to them, and for me they still veer too close to plodding rock riffery at times (viz encore "Gonna Raise Hell"), but how can you resist a band who can produce such perfect soaring pop as "Dream Police" or touching balladry like "Voices" (both splendid encores tonight)? But let's face it, I can forgive everything of a band who can produce such a heart-stoppingly classic rock moment as "Surrender". Tonight, it was Heaven Tonight!