Smashing Pumpkins, ASH, Beware Of Darkness – Wembley Arena 22/7/13 Bowie V&A Exhibition 23/7/13


I saw this on Twitter…..Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 21.10.52

and thought I’d give it a go……and won! Free tickets! My ASH loving Cousin Si was also delighted, even when the gig turned out to be on a Monday night, meaning 2 days off work and we booked into the Hilton overnight……not so free after all……!

In Leeds it had been about 20 degrees and cloudy. In London it was 34 degrees an boiling hot! getting off the train was like getting off a plane on your holidays when the heat hits you! Met up with my mate Martin who’s lived in Wembley for 20 years now. After cooling drinks and a catch up, we headed to the Hilton where he’s a gym member. We went for a swim and a sauna before sadly, he had to go.


Our hotel room overlooked the Arena and we saw plenty of folks queuing to get in for ‘Beware of Darkness’ who were on about 6.30. We caught the end of their set, which was pretty raucous, before making use of our VIP wristbands that gave us access to a lovely deserted bar down a long corridoor. All the staff were great, really friendly and chatty.



From the bar we had access to the stalls. Wembley Arena didn’t seem that big really – I’m sure Manchester’s is bigger. We got near the front for ASH who were just great playing a mix of old and new tunes which was over far too quickly. Bassist Mark Hamilton was really going for it making some ace shapes.


I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like ASH. In the lead up to the gig I played ASH’s greatest hits and Smashing Pumpkin’s greatest hits one after the other and I much preferred the ASH disc. I was willing to give the Pumpkins a good listening to live though, especially as I’d heard good reports of them at this years Glasto.


Unfortunately, they didn’t do it for me. At first the sound wasn’t great (apparantly they were late to the gig and unable to soundcheck) and then they did a version of Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ that turned me right off….they murdered it! We headed back to the bar for a drink…….


……then thought, come on….they can’t be THAT bad….so went back out after chatting to the bouncers. Things did get better as the night wore on but I think they’re just not my cup of tea….or is it just that London gigs aren’t great?


Next morning we were up early and off to meet Darlene, Morgan and Georgie in the queue for the ‘Bowie is’ V&A exhibition. We queued next to a couple from Scarborough, one of whom used to work with my brother……small world! My Neu! Tshirt got a positive thumbs up and a ‘Yeah’ from the guy who took our tickets, and we were in. The whole thing was a real treat, really well done and best of all, hearing ‘Space Oddity’ as it was meant to be.  It was a bit overwhelming for Darlene who was brought to tears throughout most of it, and for Morgan, who’s trying to cut down on his cigarette intake, but in every interview with Bowie, he was fagging it up making Morgs desperate for one. We hung out at the V&A for most of the day after that – a grand day out.


No camera’s allowed of course but I had seen a sattelite exhibition of Duffys Bowie photos in Leeds, a week or 2 earlier and managed to take some photos on my phone, more here.


– Bob the Chiropodist



PS Who’s got the biggest mouth then?



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