Openers Blockheads ooze quality musicianship as they deliver with effortless charm and coolness a set of classic songs that are known and loved by the majority of those present. The tracks are underpinned by the unmistakeable bass playing of the legend that is Norman Watt-Roy and Derek Hussey’s vocals whose delivery of said songs matches closely to that of Ian Dury. The fact that the Blockheads are the opening act today only shows what quality lies ahead.
The Undertones treat us to a set of songs that would leave only the most miserable gits around failing to find their feet tapping or vocal chords humming, all helped along by the band looking as though they genuinely enjoy doing this sort of thing. Paul McLoone is the perfect frontman as he jumps around the stage and there are smiles, banter and jokes as they bang out their wonderfully poppy punk anthems.
With that unmistakeable buzz-saw guitar sound, pounding drums and driving bass, Buzzcocks power their way through a set designed to please both the casual fan and the dedicated follower, with classic singles punctuated with the occasional less well-known song. Steve Diggle continues in his quest to become Pete Townsend while Pete Shelley simply rolls his eyes, grins and gets on with the job to be done.
Close your eyes and just listen – when Peter Hook plays Joy Division songs you really could be listening to Ian Curtis. His deep, gruff voice suits ‘Disorder’, ‘Digital’, ‘Transmission’ etc. perfectly but is perhaps less suited to New Order’s ‘Regret’ or ‘True Faith’. Regardless of the vocals, who isn’t transported to another era when ‘Ceremony’ and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ are played live? For many, this was the set of the day.
Whatever your opinion of Bob Geldof may be, he’s a performer who puts everything into his shows – and tonight, The Boomtown Rats are superb. They may have played just nine songs, but what a show this way. Of course, the set-list consists of nearly all greatest hits – ‘Modern’, ‘Clockwork’, ‘Mary…’, ‘Rat Trap’ and a poignant moment of silence during ‘Mondays’, with the set fuelled by energy, anger and passion.
Adam Ant is a real showman – an entertainer. To many, he’s some sort of god – and he’s written some brilliant songs. Never relying just on those massive hits, he leaps and writhes all over the stage to perform tracks such as ‘Cartrouble’, ‘Zerox’ and ‘Kick’ alongside ‘Kings..’, ‘Dog Eat Dog’, and ‘Stand and Deliver’. He also looks good on stage too: slimmer, more energetic and with a stronger voice than the last time I saw him. This was a magnificent end to a fantastic day.