Even prettier in the flesh than he is on screen, if that's possible. And the haircut: my word! It makes him look years younger.
So, last night, Ghost of the Robot live in Amsterdam -- what can I say? Other than that it was a great night out? We got there reasonably on time, db2305
and me, and found that we were (possibly) the sole representatives of our age group; most of the other members of the audience were at least twenty years our juniors. There were a few grey-haired dads accompanying their barely teenaged offspring, but not too many. Another thing we noticed was that the majority of the unaccompanied teenagers there was German, and there were a few Brits in the audience as well, which probably accounted for the fact that their support act's inbetween songs banter fell totally flat. I doubt many people understood a word they were saying.
By the way, that support act, a (judging by the lead singer's accent, idiom and grammar, Belgian) band with the slightly ludicrous name of Mr. Love & The Stalllions, who played a mix of grungy-indie-electro beat rock, wasn't bad and their ginger violinist/guitarist/keyboardist was actually quite tasty-looking. If only I'd been 25 years younger, I might have put his poster on my wall!
Then it was time for the main attraction: JM, as he was really what most people there had come to see. Yes, me and db2305
as well. Still, there were a few who knew the words to 'David Letterman', which must have been a pleasant surprise for the band as a whole. Charlie DeMars actually enjoyed himself so much that he went crowd-surfing towards the end of the set. Too bad there wasn't that much of a crowd there, so he was back on stage in no time.
Because I don't think the concert was sold out. The venue itself, the Oude Zaal of the Melkweg, is rather small (or if you want to be more charitabe: intimate), with a capacity I would guess of 500 at most. But we were nowhere near that number. I think we got stuck between 300-400 people. Which was good, not much jostling going on, and everyone could have a good view of the stage and the band.
I was in the second row, towards the side of the stage -- a prime spot for taking pictures, which I did a lot of and if they come out right, I will post them here for your delectation as soon as possible, with a very good view of James and smack bang in front of Steven, was it? The only comment I have to make is that James doesn't really work the stage much, just keeps standing at the mic singing his little heart out (bless!) -- which means that I probably took the same photograph 36 times, with just slight variations of hand and facial movements.
The PA system wasn't working to perfection so a lot of what JM said inbetween songs was indistinguishable from the background noise. A lot of what he sang fared the same way, I'm sorry to say. What I did hear him say though, wasn't all that remarkable or interesting other than that it indicated he was having a great time up there on stage himself. The first thing that landed at his feet when the band came on stage was a lollipop, for which he appeared very grateful; after that, it was the usual assorted cuddly toys, T-shirts and -- was that a pair of knickers I saw sailing through the air at one stage?
Anyway, the man looked great, and during one of his very rare forays to the side, for a minute there I got the impression that he was actually looking right at me, before I shrugged it off as an impossibility. OK, he may have been less than a metre away from me at the time, and I could clearly see his eyes (which really are an impossible shade of blue), but I think it's one of the laws of nature that people up on stage can't see 2 feet in front of them because of the lighting. Still, my traitorous heart did give a little lurch and now I think I may be half in love with JM rather than with Spike...but I'm sure I'll get over it when I see him in the States next. The mystery will simply disappear with so much familiarity in such a short space of time! ;-)
As to the music: contrary to what one of the half-naked teenage girls behind me was shouting in response to James' remark that we would have to let them go soon as they were fast running out of material ("Your songs are crap!"), the music didn't, I repeat: did. not. suck. In its genre, it's not half bad, actually. I must say I was quite pleasantly surprised by this, as the last time I downloaded a snippet (about a year ago), I was decidedly unimpressed. But they seem to have grown musically, and now they're quite good. Not good enough to warrant 22 euros for a copy of Mad Brilliant
though, I don't think!
Unfortunately, there really wasn't anything among the "band crap" (JM's words, not mine!) that could tempt me to part with my money (just the CD, a few single CDs and a T-shirt were on offer), so I'll have to have a rethink as to what to bring to the signing session in Lake Harmony in a couple of weeks. Just my luck! I'm total crap at this sort of thing. Can't I just get him to sign a paper napkin from the venue or something? And what would I do with his autograph, anyway?
And because I've been moaning about this for the last few weeks, it seems, here are the sartorial details of the evening:JM
: Docs! He wore Docs -- and appeared to be tripping over his laces a couple of times. Other than that: the ubiquitous blue jeans, black leather belt, and a khaki sleeveless T-shirt, nicotine patch prominently displayed on right biceps (I thought he gave up smoking a while ago? Still seems to be having a craving for it, though). Silver necklace, bracelet and several rings completed his outfit -- shades of S6's Magpie!Spike ;-)db2305
: hip-hugging, flared blue jeans, black ponyhair flats, lilac see-through top, light brown suede jacket and orange scarf. Hair done up in a ponytail and makeup done to perfection. Me
: my beautiful, sporty yellow and green lace up boots! Black opaque tights, black asymmetric retro punk skirt, sheer lemon yellow jumper with huge rolldown collar, thin black jumper over which said collar could spill and with the yellow sleeves peeping out from under its
sleeves, long black woollen cardigan covering the lot...and no, I did not look like an enormous wasp! Frumpy, maybe, in comparison to my oh so stylish friend, but it was the best I could do at short notice, and it was entirely practical. All those layers, they could, and did, come off -- well, all except for the last one, of course.