And so to last week, when we were lucky enough to see The Staves at Wilton’s Music Hall, Van Morrison at the Royal Albert Hall and Morrissey at – let’s just say – an arena in Birmingham. After it was all over we found ourselves wondering: was there anyone else in the world at the same three gigs as us? Unlikely, we concluded – which feels like something of a privilege.
The Staves were captivating, naturally, and they’re not half bad at picking venues either – Wilton’s Music Hall is a destination in itself. I didn’t expect to be saying that Van was even better than I imagined he’d be – but he was. Sticking out for me are the cover of Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home, a sublime rendition of Into The Mystic, and the peculiar and unacclaimed way he shuffled off the stage, never to return. And Morrissey was Morrissey. He dived straight from The Queen Is Dead into Suedehead like it was nothing and made sure we didn’t leave without a side of meat-is-murder and ban-the-monarchy.
I’d never been to Birmingham before, so it was cool to have the day to do a bit of exploring (even if I did find myself gravitating firmly towards Selfridges in the end) and to have some friends lead us expertly into the Birmingham night after the gig. Could’ve done without the 6.30am fire-alarm wake-up call at the hotel though – though without that, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting the local café owners who revelled in our fate: ‘You won’t be able to get back to sleep now. It just won’t be the same.’