Born Of Frustration / Oh My Heart / Boom Boom / Ring The Bells / Hey Ma / Honest Joe / Bubbles / Come Home / Of Monsters And Heroes And Men / I Wanna Go Home / Whiteboy / Waterfall / She's A Star / Sound / Tomorrow / Say Something / Upside / Sometimes
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Friday night in Lincoln and the crowd are up for one of the biggest bands the town have seen for a while. There appears to have been a lot of alcohol consumed by the time the band make the stage, judging by some of the chanting, people falling over and the buzz awaiting the band as they come on just after 9, Tim and Larry continuing the tradition of natty headwear.
Arms are raised and the crowd join in with arms raised, hollering and moshing in the centre. This is continued through the new songs Oh My Heart and Boom Boom, except for the strings section of the latter, which confuses the crowd until the end refrain kicks back in. The light show is simply stunning, something I hadn't noted on previous nights, having been stood towards the side. There's no gimmicks, but it's simple and there's lots of it. Ring The Bells satisfies those who were already shouting for Laid and Sit Down around me. The crowd in the centre is now a heaving mass as the ending of the song gets more and more frenetic and ragged. Wonderful stuff. Hey Ma sees those around me singing along, a promising sign of the album getting out there; again, it feels a little odd to hear people singing it in celebration and clapping given the subject matter,
Honest Joe gets a very welcome reintroduction and it felt like they'd been watching the 1994 Glastonbury TV performance, which still ranks as my favourite ever music TV broadcast. Saul joins Tim with a second megaphone and the song ends with Tim whirling his microphone around as the song flies off somewhere in the stratosphere with a stunning lighting accompaniment.
Bubbles again stands out amongst the new tracks and Come Home is even more ragged and wonderful than the previous night in Derby, Mark has some great keyboard parts in this version which make it stand out from the versions on last year's tour. Of Monsters and Heroes and Men and I Wanna Go Home bring the pace down, but not the intensity of the set, the latter gets better every night. Whiteboy is still a little messy, but in a good way, as if the band are racing Tim through the song. Waterfall, apart from the reintroduction of Honest Joe, is the highlight, it doesn't sound out of place at the start of the medley of hits that close the set and the crowd react accordingly. Tim asks people at the end to go out and buy the album today to get it into the Top Ten. Let's hope they take heed.
The medley of hits to close the set has the already steaming hot venue getting even hotter. She's A Star is played pretty straight, whilst Sound takes a whole new set of twists and turns from the previous night and Tomorrow sits well at the end of the set.
Coming back for the encore, the band decide to change the set and play Say Something. I wish they hadn't. It's a personal thing, but I think this is the one song of the "hits" that hasn't aged well. It doesn't have the sheer power of Tomorrow or She's A Star and doesn't get too much of a retreatment. But given the crowd's reaction, I think it's clearly a personal thing. Upside doesn't disappoint again and surely has to be a single after Waterfall, the break before the final chorus seems to get longer and longer, and the key change at the end of it gets the adrenalin flowing every time.
Sometimes is last and as in previous nights ends with the crowd singing back the refrain to the band. It's a fine line doing this every night. Whilst some nights it's completely spontaneous and the crowd start immediately, it took a while last night, and I don't think it's something that should be forced. It fell the right side of the line last night, just. I'd hope if it gets to the point where it's not spontaneous they could blast into another song and get the crowd going again. Once the crowd do sing though, it's a stunning sight, and a bit of two fingers to those who still think the band are a one-song pony.
So, not as good as Derby, but not a bad gig. The crowd reaction was probably better to be fair, but how much you can enjoy a gig is often decided by those around you. There was no reason, for example, for the guy stood in front of me at one stage to suddenly launch an empty bottle into the middle of the crowd for no other reason than it was empty, or the guy who barged me out of my place and then stood trying to talk to me during a slow song about how it was someone or others first gig and got aggrieved when I told him to fuck off. We were also treated pre-gig to a dying swan impersonation from a woman old enough to know better. All good fun.
Onto Liverpool tonight.