The Wedding Present @ The Spa, Scarborough 13th July 2013

In 1986 I saw the Wedding Present for the first time at the Riverside in Newcastle. With me at the time was my trusty friend Maurice and Dudley’s second favourite son; Paddy Donoghue. (the Favourite Son? Robson Green of course!!) On our approach to the venue we noticed the fire door was open. So, like the true scamps we were we sneaked in without paying. In February of the following year myself and Paddy went down to Elland Road in Leeds to see the football team defeat QPR in the 5th round of the FA cup. On our journey home courtesy of National Express we had the pleasure of sitting next to Grapper. The then guitarist in the Wedding Present. They were playing Newcastle University that night. We spent an enjoyable couple of hours discussing both the football, Grapper had also been at the game, and the Wedding Present and their forthcoming album George Best. As we arrived in Newcastle Grapper was unsure of how to get to the University. So we showed him the way. As an act of appreciation he got us both into the gig for free. So why am I telling you this? Well last night I again went to see the Wedding Present with Maurice and Paddy just as we had done 27 years ago. It was Paddy’s third time of seeing them and the first time he had paid! They were also playing George Best in full; their seminal debut released late in 1987.
Now the only thing to complete this circle would have been if Dave Gedge had got Grapper back to play. Unfortunately he hasn’t invited him so no cries of “Take it away Grapper” during the refrain from “Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm”. (A track not originally on George Best but did appear on the deluxe editions released some years later fact fans!!!) In fact Gedge is the only original member left from those halcyon days of 86/87. But as he writes all the songs and plays most of the parts in the Wedding Present and on George Best they are his and his alone so he can do what he wants.
Anyway what you want to know is were they any good? Answer: For the most part they were fantastic. They started a little slow and did some new songs that I wasn’t familiar with. They did do “At the Edge of the Sea” which is one of their oldest tracks it was both poignant in age and circumstance. But once they launched into George Best in its entirety they had the audience in the palm of their hands. It is a superb album. One of my all time favourites. So to hear it played live is always going to be a pleasure. The audience, as expected, was mainly blokes in their 40s reliving their youth. I remember seeing the Wedding Present in a Park in Bradford in 1988 and loads of the audience swam across the lake to get onto the stage. I could not imagine many of tonight’s audience managing a similar feat!!! But they did pogo and shout out the lyrics as if they were indeed still back in the 80s. David Gedge was on top form with some witty rapport and a sackful of great tunes. After completing the full album highlights including “Shatner”, “Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft”, “A Million Miles” and my favourite “Give my love to Kevin”. They do a couple of songs from other albums and finish with the superb “Dalliance” from Sea Monsters. No encores as they don’t do encores and they’re off. As we leave we see David signing stuff and talking to his fans. A great front man and the owner of a great back catalogue. Having already seen them do the whole of Bizarro at the Deer Shed festival in 2010 I look forward to seeing them do Seamonsters in the near future!!!!



By peter on July 15, 2013

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