Wednesday, May 30, 2007

That's Hard When You're Living a Life of Dreams

It does feel like a dream. Have I seen The Orchids live? Can't believe it. Well, this photograph must have come from somewhere! It must have been quite an experience, The Orchids being one of my favourite bands. Ever. Like seeing Felt play live. Of course I was too young to be there twenty years ago, but sometimes you get a second chance. And Keith sent me this setlist:

Obsession No. 1
Down to the Ocean
Take My Hand
Welcome to My Curious Heart
Feel the Magic
You Could Do Something to Me
A Place Called Home
Moon Lullaby
The Last Thing (On Your Mind)
Beautiful Liar
Something For the Longing
Another Saturday Night


It was one of those dreams where you can't tell if it's reality or not. The band comes up on stage (a small square stage at one end of the basement at Maggie May's, just a few inches above the ground) to the sounds of "The Perfect Reprise. They look calm, old, but beautiful, and nervous. The first gig in their hometown for over a decade. But people remembered them - that basement was almost full. People are standing really close, on two sides of the stage. I'm almost in front of the speakers, and suffice to say the sound wasn't great, with people talking excitedly everywhere. Alistair Fitchett is there, back in Glasgow for the first time in a long while, and I can imagine a lot of other old friends are there too. I thought they were mostly going to play songs from the new album, but as they start playing I recognise "Obsession No. 1". James' voice is still magnificent, if not as strong maybe. But in a way "I hate your body, I hate your mind, you're so unkind" sounds even more haunting sung so softly. The new songs sound best on the whole, they have an urgency and as always when bands play live those are the songs they feel most passionately about. I was surprised at how good the new album Good to Be a Stranger is. I think it's because the key members are still there: singer and chief songwriter James Hackett and guitarist John Scally. Some of those songs jangle as delicately as "Apologies".

Then they play "Thaumaturgy", which means the ability to work miracles (usually possessed by saints) and is one of my favourite Orchids songs and one of the best Sarah singles ever. I can see why some people insist that The Orchids were always the best band on Sarah. The two songs that stand out during their set however, is the closing track from the new album "You Could Do Something to Me" with it's rolling guitar line and their perennial pop classic "Something For the Longing". We can all see the setlist, so when they go off stage we shout for "two more", and James says "ok, we'll do two more". And they were not any two songs, but probably their two most well-known songs: "Peaches" form their masterpiece Unholy Soul and "Caveman" from their first album, which I have trouble standing still to. Then it's over, before you know it, and only the balloons are left.

I'm going try my best to get them over to Sweden so I can share my dream with you. Until then you can put these songs into a playlist on your computer and listen to them while you're looking at this picture (don't even ask me about the image on the back wall!) and try to feel the magic. Just like I am doing now. I want a Perfect Reprise.


alistair said...

it really was a great show, wasn't it? i wish my review had been more upbeat now, but such is life. Nice to have the setlist :)

Marianthi said...

Oh my, how I wished I could have been there for this. My heart jumped when I read all the reviews. You lucky people! x