Friday, 9 December 2016

The Levellers @ O2 Academy Bournemouth 9.12.16

I wasn't going to go this evening, I'd got myself into that weird head space I can sometimes occupy, the cutting my nose off without rhyme nor reason head space. I'd had the tickets from the day they went on sale, the Levellers are a favourite band of mine, whose music is never off my playlist and they were playing their seminal album 'Levelling the Land' in full. Still, I wasn't going to go, damn those puppies of the black dog. But then I was told to go in no uncertain terms, though with love. I'm thankful for that push. I arrived late missing the first support and half way through the second. As I queued for a drink (long queues) I somehow got to the bar before the guy who'd been in front of me, so as is only right I let in front. And, he bought me a drink. Which was nice. I then made my way towards the front and the stage. The second support finished and as I looked about a woman asked me if I was looking for my friends, I said 'no, I'm on my own' to which she gave me a hug and suggested I join her and her group. Two acts of kindness one after another, I felt uplifted and even more grateful for that push to attend.

Then the main event. The band showed a short pre show film, a montage of news clips from the 80's to now, political, social, cultural, interspersed with adverts of the periods. The Levellers have remained true to their original values throughout their career, which is laudable.  If you know the album then you know the track listing, if you don't know the album you should, Levelling the Land. From the get go the crowd seethed, a sea of smiling faces, arms in the air, choruses joined in with on mass, the atmosphere was electric, the energy was fantastic, love flowed through the audience, it was brilliant.  Every track delivered with a passion undiminished, masterfully tweaked slightly here and there, but still to perfection; the band understands how cherished these songs are by the crowd. They didn't disappoint, each musician producing a faultless performance. An album, no matter how magnificent, doesn't last long and soon enough the final notes of 'Battle of the Beanfield' merged with fevered cheering. That was Levelling the land. Fucking marvellous!  All I'd hoped for, now even happier I'd been cajoled into coming.  Of course there was more though. Now a parade of favourites, 'This Garden', 'Carry Me' and 'Men a Tol' to name a few. All were delivered with the same level of gusto.  The first encore saw 'Julie' and of course 'Beautiful Day' had to have an outing. For the final encore some of Ferocious Dog joined the band for a rousing rendition of 'What you Know'.  What a fantastic gig, enjoyed with lovely people, memorable. Nights don't come much better.

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