Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, June 25, 2001

Astronet Live: Utah Saints / The Orb / Soft Cell...
The thing kicked off at 10pm so we though we’d get there a bit before. The location was quite some way out of Madrid (Plaza de Toros, Cubierta de Leganes) too so Paul and I decided to splash out on a cab – the way you do. As luck would have it, as we pulled up we bumped into Bryn, Larissa, Dave, (veterans of Gloria Hunniford’s show last week) and Dave’s squeeze, Thierry and a Spanish guy called Francisco. So the seven of us sat in a bar and gossiped and swapped Marc and Soft cell stories while we waited for the concert to start. The buzz was good and we all got very excited. Lots of people had dressed up for the event and bizarrely a man on very tall stilts gave me a balloon shaped like a frying pan. Go figure.

The event itself was staged in a bullring that gave more than a passing resemblance to the alien mother ship at the end of Close Encounters. It was a high-sided pudding bowl of concrete topped with a metallic retractable roof. Half the roof was open so you could see the stars. Cool venue. When we first went in we were attacked by a wall of sound and light, which was quite disorientating. Gigantic towers of speakers littered the place and huge arrays of powerful, flashing lights were strung above, to the left and to the right of the main stage. We felt like Christians thrown to the lions. Except there was no one there to watch. The circular 10,000 seater was all but empty. In total we reckoned there were no more than 1,000 people. Shame really. But it meant we got really close to the stage.

First on were the Utah Saints. They were loud but uninspiring. We stayed in the bar most of the time and listened only when we went to the loo. Which was twice. Yeah, yeah Kate Bush sample. Yeah, yeah, Eurythmics sample. Next!

And next, at midnight, it was The Orb. There was no formal announcement so it was hard to tell when they actually started playing. To their credit they had impressive visuals (a giant white orb and dazzling back projection). But occasionally there was no one was on stage at all, which made you wonder who or what you were there to see. It was an over long set too. They stretched out their uninspiring brand of ambient / techno landscape to nearly two hours. By the end of it we were shouting, "Play that f**king little fluffy clouds song and get off!" They actually finished with a porno version of "These Are A few Of My Favourite Things" which as quite funny so they were partly forgiven.

Finally at well past 2am Soft Cell came on to huge cheers and stamping of feet. Marc was wearing a black leather jacket, black sequined top, and a single black leather glove. Very Depeche Mode, very Michael Jackson. It was more or less a re-run of the Ocean gig but with no backing video screens. Same dance moves, same level and tempo in the performance (Marc - lots, Dave – none), same audience singing/Marc singing during the ‘hits’. Some of the people near us were going wild though. Throwing themselves about like it was a heavy metal concert. Bless. The running order was little different this time.

Memorabilia (Marc ‘raps’ rather than sings quite a lot on this – more than at Ocean?)
Monoculture (went down OK, Marc needs a new dance though)
Torch (moved to be earlier in the set, and wise move too. Gives a bit of crowd participation early on)
Divided Soul (this was very popular. Fast becoming my favourite new track)
Best Way To Kill (same deal with Marc pretending (?) to play guitar)
The Art Of Falling Apart (Marc took his jacket off, to much cheering)
Somebody Somewhere Sometime (a Spaniard asked me to translate the lyrics… er… er…)
Bedsitter (everyone sang along. Even when they didn’t understand the words!)
Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go? (handclapping, air punching, crowd pleaser)
Say Hello Wave Goodbye (sway, everybody sway)
Martin (cue pogoing, and wild dancing by entire crowd)
Sex Dwarf (scream if you wanna hear more! We did. They didn’t)

Total they were on stage for an hour and fifteen minutes. So at half past three we had the fun of trying to get back to civilisation. Taxi!

I took loads of pictures. Don’t know if any will come out. I’ll post any good ones.

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