It was in an intimate setting and I was front row. This has always been on my bucket list. To be this close to Marc Almond. It was also my first ever Marc Almond gig. I had seen him do the odd song with Holy Holy but never a full Marc Almond gig. He was also almost on my doorstep. It would plain crazy not to go!
Marc and I have a bit of a history although he has no idea of how he has influenced my life. I actually wrote to Jim’ll Fix It asking to meet him. Of course, it never happened but he was the only person I wrote to Jim’ll Fix It about. When Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret came out I was lucky enough to win a signed copy from Smash Hits. I am not really very lucky with winning anything so this was such a joy and I still treasure that album today. Soft Cell (along with David Bowie) helped me become the quirky, weird person I am today – so I thank them so much for leading the way.
But of course Marc doesn’t know any of this and what he has meant to me. But this tells you how much this gig has meant to me. The Stables is a very small venue which makes it the perfect venue for me to get up close…and front row doesn’t get much closer!
The support act were The Flicks and before they even sung you knew they had something. Three girls, all who have their own individual character. All stunningly beautiful and looked amazing in their own quirky outfits. Think spice girls meets Harley Quinn with attitude and you’re halfway there. I told them afterwards that 30 years ago this would have been my sort of look. But these girls not only look good they can play – lead guitar, bass and drums. And to top it all off they can sing too! We are introduced to them with a bit of VT. Their songs are short, snappy and have attitude. I liked them a lot. They did a Stop Your Sobbing cover made famous by The Pretenders, and during this you could really hear their harmonies and how good their voices sound. They said they have time for one more and its called…Fuck You! I told you they had attitude. This was a difficult venue for them as it’s probably not their demographic audience but if this is the future of music, I am not worried anymore. It is in safe hands with The Flicks. They are going to be huge!
Marc was introduced and we were told how this was a special gig. It is a warm-up gig for his forthcoming Hits and Pieces tour and so we are the first to get to see what it will be like. I felt honoured and excited to be there.
He came out and from the start he was entertaining, interacting with the crowd but also seeming very humble and thanking us for our applause. He has had mixed reviews over recent years but I can say with my hand on my heart that he was pitch perfect tonight. His voice as good as it ever was; his musicality is a gift you cannot buy. What was so special about this intimate gig was how he tells the story when he sings. You could really feel the emotions of his words.
He played a range of tracks from both his solo work and from Soft Cell. Early on he gave us permission to get up and dance so myself and some others did just that…but by the time Bedsitter came on everyone was up on their feet. Tracks included Jacky, Stories of Johnny, The Days of Pearly Spencer, Somethings Gotten Hold Of My Heart and Where The Heart Is alongside Torch, What and of course, Tainted Love which has an ongoing standing ovation and cheering. He also did ChildStar and when he sang ‘beauty is you’ he pointed straight at me. I felt at times it was so intimate that I was duetting with Marc. His new song, A Kind Of Love went down really well and The Flicks came on stage to join Marc for this one.
Our encore was the classic Say Hello Wave Goodbye…and everyone was singing and on their feet.
My only disappointment was he cut Memorabilia from the set list. This is one of my all-time favourites and would have loved to have heard it. But this gig was everything I had hoped for. Marc is an entertainer, but so much more. Marc gives a really personal performance and I was genuinely touched by this.
Marc Almond’s Hits and Pieces tour begins on 22 March 2017. For details please see his website: http://www.marcalmond.co.uk/