My first ever gig (Well second, i saw Wet Wet Wet in 1995 or something, but i was 9 or 10, so it doesn't count) and what a gig it was! My ticket was a Christmas present from my big sister, who came along for the ride. We got in the SECC, and big sis went straight to the bar and got me a pint (don't tell my parents though, i was only 16 at the time) and then we went into the main hall. The Doves were on first and i wasn't that impressed with them, nor it seemed were the rest of the crowd who threw pints at them and chanted TRAVIS through most of their set! Then Travis came on, opening with Sing, brilliant! Good Feeling was next. I hadn't really listened to the Good Feeling album much at this time of my Travis life so this song was new to me, i loved and it remains one of my favourites to this day! Pipe dreams was good too, with a strange video of Fran clinging to the roof of a moving vehicle playing behind. Then my first experience of Why Does It Always Rain On Me? live! Wow, i stood on lots of toes during that! (sorry if it was any of yours). But Slide Show was my highlight, it was just one of those beautiful moments. A huge screen came down and showed a slideshow of picture of the band, from baby photos to the present. And then of course that led into Blue Flashing Lights before the band left the stage. The encore was great too, Coming Around especially! A girl was pulled from the crowd, Alison I think her name was, to play PlayStation 2 on the huge screen, a racing game I think, it was great to watch, she was winning most of the way but lost it in the end, Alison if your reading this, unlucky! And then finished with Happy, pure dead brilliant! I got myself a t-shirt on the way out, which I happen to be wearing right now. thanks Travis, for a night i'll never forget!
I was slightly apprehensive going into this show, My first gig was at the barras in glasgow and compared to that the SECC is a really poor venue, actually compared to everywhere the SECC is a really poor venue (the sound is terrible) but the band were fantastic the atmosphere incredible, I never thought I could be blown away by a concert in this venue but I was. This wasn't just a gig but a show, the big screen was great.
On first arrival at the SECC everything's quiet in the main concourse which links the huge exhibition spaces. A few queries later at the info desk, and I'm escorted down to Hall 4, through the strict security already in attendance, and then on to the production office to collect that most holy of holies, the Access All Areas laminate. In the league table of laminate numbers I'm bottom of the list at 85, giving an indication of the organisation required around this tour. Dougie later tells me that after losing his original, he's now dropped from 2 to 73!
Back along the corridor, and much laminate flashing later, and we're through to the main hall, where the scale of the set up becomes clear. Local crew are in attendance to help with the massive job of setting up the stage and lighting, and the hall is littered with forklift trucks and flightcases of all shapes and sizes, there is the constant noise of shouts, the occasional shriek of feedback and buzz of powertools. The stage setup began with unloading at 8am this morning so with the basics done it's time for lunch before soundchecking.
Soundcheck starts at 4pm, and when we return the band are running through some tracks to set their levels. Fran is wearing some truly frightening headgear and Neil's daughter Lola has the run of the vast hall to dance in.
Travis also soundcheck a cover of Elton John's "Rocket Man" with Dougie on lead vocals, with a view to including it in tonight's encore, and after two run
throughs, which sound great, the track is added to tonights set. Soundcheck over the long pre-show wait begins.
There are many different approaches to killing time. Some of the band eat at this point, leaving a good 3 hours of digestion before going on stage. Others like Dougie prefer to wait till after the show. Fran goes back to the hotel. Dougie, Jeremy and Neil go back to the tourbus to chill and play some playstation.
A couple of hours later and the sense of expectation grows. The crowd can be heard from the dressing room which lies beside the main mall separated by the flimsiest of walls and a few venetian blinds. Guest lists have been put together and as usual in Glasgow the numbers are high with family and friends.
First guests arrive backstage around 7.45 and the band catch up and socialise before Pete, the tour manager, moves everyone but the band out for the last 15 minutes before the show. At this point there is much finger drumming, floor pacing and toe tapping and the tension moves up another notch. Pete returns at five minute intervals to check everyone's around and ready to go and at 8.55pm the band are led from the dressing room to the back of the stage.Moving quickly and with a security escort the band are through the corridor, past catering and finally backstage, where they link up for the customary Travis pre-show huddle.
By this point the intro track "The Staunton Lick" by Lemon Jelly has started and the houselights are down. The crowd sensing the imminent arrival of the band start an ever growing roar and quickening handclaps. As the track begins to kick in the band take to the stage and the gig begins.
The effort put into the stage set up and design of these arena shows becomes apparent during the gig, with every song synched to it's own lighting or projection set-up, to add that little bit extra for these big venues.
The first of the big backdrop projections starts 5 songs in with Driftwood.Three spots, coloured red, green and blue focus down on Andy, Fran and Dougie and are repeated on the projection behind, with the silhouette of a trampolinist appearing within them.
The Fear looks and sounds spectacular, as the projection behind the band explodes in an image of flames. The band are currently playing a far more crunchy and stripped down version of album recording of this song, closer infact Fran says to the original demoes of the song from years ago in Glasgow.
Side, Last Train and an old fave I Love You Anyways follow. During Turn Fran takes a bad fall while jumping the speakers and there are a few moments of nervousness onstage as we wait to see if he is ok to carry on. Thankfully he is, although limping badly for a while. But before we know it we're into the Blue Flashing Light and there's only the encore to go.
Having mopped their brows, Travis open with Rocket Man, which goes down well with the Glasgow crowd. All I Want To Do Is Rock is next up with Andy climbing the speaker stacks during an ever more laid back and at many points one handed guitar solo.
Then it's time for some audience interaction as Fran asks for a volunteer who is familiar with the Playstation 2 and in particular Gran Turismo 3. Many hands go up down the front and Alison is picked from the crowd and duly given her controller to play and provide a video backdrop to the song.
Alison's racing leaves a bit to be desired, but she's not last, coming through the chequered flag in 5th, and she was heartily singing througout. A quick handshake with Fran and she's picked up and deposited over the rail the once more. From then it's just a question of Fran saying his thank yous and the familiar strains of Happy close the show on a high.
Writing To Reach You
As You Are
I Love You Anyways
Follow The Light
Flowers In The Window
The Humpty Dumpty Love Song
Why Does It Always Rain On Me?
Blue Flashing Light
All I Want To Do Is Rock