Conscious that it has been a while I thought I would come back with a bang.
No small hall, barely remembered indie hopefuls. Instead, the mighty REM at probably their stadium-sized peak.
Whether you consider stadium-sized to be their actual peak is a different matter but by the time of this gig they certainly bestrode the world like the proverbial colossus – coming to town on the back of the three albums that had cemented their alt-rock superstardom in Out of Time, Automatic for the People and Monster.
Three of us had been due to attend, Me, Gill and Vicky – a friend’s daughter who we had taken to Glastonbury a couple of months earlier. Come the morning of the show, Gill was unable to go and a last-minute ring round of people who might have nothing to do on a weekday found Andy, a student who lived nearby, who snapped the spare ticket up.
Now, he was sold – as was I – on the premise that REM were going to be supported by Oasis. Not that REM weren’t enough, far from it, but to see them and the band most likely to on the cusp of releasing their second album – well, the excitement was off the scale.
We picked our coach up in Widnes and once underway the fateful announcement was made – Oasis had pulled out due to recording commitments but, not to worry, they were being replaced by The Beautiful South.
I feared for the purser’s life.
Still it all settled down and, on a gloriously sunny afternoon, we pitched up at the McAlpine Stadium in Huddersfield for the first of REM’s two-night run.
While The Beautiful South weren’t entirely welcome, other support from Belly certainly was. The Tanya Donnelly-fronted four-piece remain a favourite and in 1995 they seemed to be heading in only once direction, and that was up.
It never really panned out that way, but songs like Gepetto and Slow Dog always hit the spot.
The headliners were astounding in the way that only people truly at the top of their game can be.
From their college radio darling beginnings they had ascended to the highest plane seemingly without compromise and had a back catalogue perhaps without equal amongst their contemporaries to draw their set from.
I couldn’t tell you what the entire setlist comprised but opening with What’s The Frequency, Kenneth set a suitably rowdy tone, and including Finest Worksong was as much as I could have asked.
Oasis could wait.