I’ve been refraining from posting my review because I could have, overall, had a better time. I’ve not seen AB live since around 2011 (having been a mega fan from 2004 onwards and seeing them every time they came to the UK) as I got more and more exasperated with poor sound, rushed performances and a [god love him] very very tired sounding Myles.
I was spurred into action to get tickets for this show because of how special an occasion it was going to be. I managed to get a box, directly above the stage and before the concert started I was very pleased that spending that little bit extra resulted in such a great view. Despite my absence from their concerts, AB still hold a very special place in my soul emotionally.
That’s the preface…
Once the concert started, I was extremely disappointed to note that I couldn’t hear a god-damned thing but the orchestra. Myles was just about audible and the drums could be just about heard but nothing else was remotely audible above a messy bass thump. This was highly depressing because clear AB were performing at a level I haven’t seen since maybe 2004 through to 2008. I mean they were seriously on it and Myles was hitting all the notes (I think he only talked like three or four of the lines the whole concert). I missed every guitar solo, including Fortress which would have been a highlight for me.
There was PA speaker set pointing right at us, no more than 20 meters from our box but not a jot of sound was being pumped in our direction. This was, as you can imagine, pretty upsetting. I was at the best concert of AB’s career and I was STILL missing it. I’m not sure whether to blame AB’s sound team or the hall but it’s a lot of money to spend for a sub-par experience.
Mid-way through the second set, I managed to get the manager of the hall to move us to a more distant but front-facing position. The sound was much better but still the same muddy guitar tone that I’ve been used to from live AB all these years. That I can live with and from the end of Brand New Start onwards I could start to enjoy the show.
Anyway, let’s review the performance. I was shocked at how emotional the whole experience was. AB has been a part of my life since my formative years (I was 17 when ODR came out and I became obsessed) and it’s taken years and life experience for some of the songs to take on meaning and I wasn’t quite prepared for it.
In loving memory hit me like a train and always has, so I was ready for the lump in my throat. Ghosts of Days Gone By, however, took me completely by surprise. I was fighting back the tears as it subconsciously pulled me through the end of my youth and all the carefree days before the breakdown of a family unit, the struggles of personal responsibility and the fact that everyone is getting older.
More than anything, I was glad to witness Words Darker Than Their Wings. I’ve always loved the song but now more than ever it resonates. My father has recently estranged from the family and become a born again Christian. I’m an atheist and have been since 18 years old or so (despite a Catholic upbringing and school).
Now, unlike Myles, I’ve never seen my atheism as a burden and in fact it emancipated me personally and I’m very happy. My father, as a newly converted Christian, however, seems to have a desperate need to convert me. I’m perfectly happy for us both to have our views and leave it at that. The song is very reminiscent of this situation and just floored me. The mid-section especially the, “Go. Never to ask why or to fear again.” part had me very emotional. I’m glad Myles and Mark have the courage to sing about issues that other bands wouldn’t touch.
It's great. I'm not a negative person and I'm happy in life but these kinds of deep meaning songs are great cathartic outlets.
It was lovely in general to see such a great set and a clearly very enthused band with a great grandiosity brought to the music with the orchestra. Myles was very emotional at a certain point and they seemed happy to be together. I hope they keep the longer songs in the set because it makes their concert seem like more of an event and keeps them unique.
It was like seeing family. Same old stuff as before pissed me off a bit but I did love what I could hear and I was surprised at just how fresh everything felt emotionally for me. It was like revisiting my slightly younger days…. even though I’m not old yet.
I look forward to actually hearing what I saw when the DVD comes out! Super happy for AB.