The Go-Betweens: London, The Fleadh, 7th June 1997
Hopefully others will provide some concise details, I just
thought I would provide a little colour:
Got up, had a shower, had breakfast ....
Ok, I guess this preliminary stuff is not of interest.
.. got off the train at Finsbury Park. The place was heaving,
punters and ticket touts all jostling for position on the
footpath. I reached the Medina and exchanged bananas with
Jonathan and Austin. Lloyd arrived a little later. It's always
risky putting faces to virtual names, but the tallulaites turned
out to be a great bunch (excuse the pun - I'm feeling whimsical).
After a pleasant chat and some drinks we all set off for the
Fleadh (apart from Lloyd who went to witness a famous victory at
I'm always unnerved by festivals. It's like I'm on the set of
some post-apocalyptic movie, too much humanity in an open space.
Maybe it's agoraphobia, because I'm quite happy with the same
number of people in an enclosed space. Fortunately the Time Out
stage turned out to be a tent (as in "Big Top" circus tent) - so
it allowed for some kind of intimacy to exist.
Through a series of rendez-vous throughout the day we were able
to check on each others survival and state of inebriation and
also catch up with Jennifer and Gareth along the way.
Having made a decision to stick mainly with the tent, I was there
in plenty of time (ie. throughout Suzanne Vega's set) for the
Go-Bs supposed slot at 20:35. Typically, although the itinerary
had been tight all day, Suzanne overran by about 5 minutes and
seemed to have an excessive amount of kit to remove from the
stage. The result was too short a changeover before the big
All listees were down the front, and with five minutes to go
there were only about 50 people in the tent ! Here we go I
thought. Then in the five minutes before the Go-Bs came on the
tent was suddenly full (so much for Van Morrison).
The band came on stage to extatic applause and then ... nothing.
The bass didn't work. Grant had no monitor working, his guitar
was not tuned properly, his mic was well down in the mix. A
nightmare start. Grant was livid "a typical Go-Betweens moment",
I almost thought he was about to quit. Things finally got
underway with Robert introducing them as "a punk band from
They played the following songs in their alloted 50 minutes
(correction on the running order most welcome - I have used the
Glasgow set list as a crutch - blame the Guiness);
To Reach Me
Head Full Of Steam - with the "wash your hair" bridge
Bye Bye Pride - aborted once because Grant's mic wasn't on
Dive For Your Memory
Right Here - Grant's guitar packed up, so he sang mic in hand
Draining the Pool - extended "in a tent" remix version
Batchelor Kisses - Robert, "this song contains "Raw Power""
Love Goes On !
(what did I forget ?)
So, terrible technical problems - but the quality of their
performance and the warmth of the reception soon had even Grant
smiling "the world is just you and us".
Robert was completely unflustered throughout, resplendant in his
white suit. Adele provided her usual competent and enthusiastic
contribution, including some great harmonies. Where does Ross
fit in the McLennan family tree ?
The most fun I've ever had in a tent ... with 500 other people.
The best birthday treat I ever had, my only regret is I'm not at
the Forum tonight. Have a great time, it should be special.