I know I’ve reviewed the final gig, and indeed all the gigs, but I wanted to wrap them all up with a farewell entry.
This whole thing started on February 1st, before I turned 40, and ended on October 19th months after I did. In those nine months I have seen opera, folk, blues, rock, classical, jazz, indie, percussion and some out there things that I’m not sure how to classify! I have traveled to Plymouth, Oxford, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool. There have been many hours on Megabus, National Express and occasionally a train or two. I have visited venues for the first time, some multiple times, seen crowds of less than 10 and more than 20,000. I’ve even been to a gig in a forest. Having waited years to see Elbow live, I got to see them 3 times and even got hugged by Guy Garvey. I met my heroine, Mary Ann Hobbs and saw the extraordinary Colin Stetson.
I have seen gigs I loved, that will stay with me forever. I have been turned on to new music I would never have found otherwise. I have surprised myself in how left field a lot of my taste has become. I feel at home in the Freak Zone on 6 Music now. As well as in folk clubs, where some of the nicest people and most talented musicians seem to reside. I have had my heart, ears and eyes opened to genres of music I’d not really touched before. I have had the most incredible experience and I wouldn’t change a single thing.
More than anything I have felt the love and kindness of so the so many people who have helped make it all possible. To every single one of you who bought me a ticket to a gig, gave me money for my birthday, donated via the gofundme page or added me to a guest list, I owe you all a huge debt of gratitude. Most of the 40 gigs have been paid for by others in one way or another. I simply couldn’t have done it without you.
In a year when politics has sought to divide us, that strangers as well as friends were prepared to put their hands in their pockets to help me has shown that the majority of folk are kind and good. You just have to let them be and give them a reason to do so. The kindnesses I have been shown has moved me to tears at times, and I am welling up thinking about you all now. Thank you so much.
This has been the most emotional and brilliant journey. I have loved it all, even the one gig I didn’t really like and the one or two I just thought were good. To have had 37 great ones was such joy. As for the highlights, well almost too many to mention. Sharing Michael Kiwanuka’s 30th birthday with him was pretty amazing, and that first Elbow gig was everything, Low Roar was transformative (I felt like I was flying), Jesca Hoop was a delightful surprise, Evelyn Glennie was astonishing, discovering I like jazz was an eye opener, Daniel Lanois I’m not sure what happened but I liked it, Penquin Cafe was pure joy, Colin Stetson redesigned what I thought music could be, seeing Ryan Adams again, my beloved Starsailor were as brilliant as ever and discovering that I really, really like folk music (India Electric Co, Hannah James, False Lights et al) and so much more besides.
It was suggested that I do a 40 gigs awards at the end, which I do think is a brilliant idea, but I need a little more time to process and think about who to aware what to. So watch this space.
This project has been the most life affirming, positive experience of my life. I got to share it with old friends, cement new ones and take my son to Starsailor’s sound check so that I got to share it with him too. It has been so much fun and has helped me rediscover myself and the things I love. I have got to be creative, both in writing this blog and in photographing bands.
Thank you to Jacqui, Monty, Janine, Dawn & Russ, Jose, Alan, my son, Anne-Marie, Amy, Kate, Ant, Claire, my work collegues, Claire & Dacre, Jen, Mark, Mark, Morven, Kev, Tom, Matt, Matt, Gemma, Linda, Jo, Sarah, Mary Ann Hobbs, Chris, Emma, Nick, Mandie, Lou, every band or artist I saw, you have all made my 40th year one I shall never forget. I am grateful for your support and thankful to have shared parts of this with you.
Oh and as for the future. Well, I’m going to an Indian classical music gig tonight. So the 40 gigs may have come to its end, but my gig going days haven’t. I’ll continue to review here.