The Grimsby Auditorium originally a concept of the local council, started out on a false dawn, after years of Grimsby doing without a large concert hall, the council finally decided to build one. However the first band booked, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine caused raised eyebrows with councillors who did not want the new hall linked to bands, with names relating to a sexual nature. Obviously the councilors had never seen or heard Carter USM, but none the less, banned them from appearing, this laid the foundation for the future of the Auditorium to only show lookalikeys & travelling kids tv shows.
After nearly a decade in charge, last year the council decided to relinquish the day to day running & handed over to Live Nation, this has resulted in internationally acclaimed acts recently appearing in Grimsby, such as Kasabian, McFly, Craig David & Morrisey.
Tonight's acclaimed act David Gray has sold over 10 million albums & enjoyed worldwide chart success. I have seen Gray at many a festival appearance over the years & have enjoyed his hit laden appearances, this is the first gig by Gray I have attended & I am unsure if the show will be loaded with hits, recent material or older tracks.
Gray appears on stage dressed in a smart suit, flanked by fellow guitar & bass players equally smartly dressed in shirt, tie & suits.
Opener tonight is Shine the title track from last years 'Shine: Best of the Early Years'. The stage is set with an array of instruments & drums yet the song is performed in an acoustic style by the trio. Giving the song more meaning & leaving the crowd hanging onto Grays every word.
Next up is 'Living Room' another oldie from debut album 'A Century Ends'. After which a female fan shouts 'Babylon' to which Gray replies "OK lets get it out of the way." I have heard Gray state many a time his dislike for Babylon & how it has changed his life, but this does not detract from just how great a song it is. This is performed in a carefree acoustic manner, the crowd is whooping it all up, shouting out the lyrics louder than Gray. When the audience sings the chorus the bright white lights above the stage light up the 1500 plus audience.
After Babylon the remainder of the band join Gray on stage, it is clear there have been major changes to Gray's backing band, from when I last saw him play. Most obvious change is drummer Craig 'Clunnie' McClune & his famous Hawaiian shirts.
Someone shouts something, which isn't clear to hear but Gray answers, "I will be getting some fish & chips & then running like fuck." A reference to Grimsby's famous fish & chips, which gets the Grimsby fans cheering.
With Gray now backed by a full band the sound is louder & ballsier, a rousing version of Sail Away gets the crowd singing again, Gray says, "This song is appropriate for a town like Grimsby, now wave your kippers in the air!"
Be Mine is sung with great passion & Gray's voice goes into overdrive as he screams 'Be Mine Be Mine'. Then a new song called 'Destroyer' is played.
Gray gets ready to perform 'My oh My' when he mentions "Good old Barnsley." A reference to the earlier FA cup result against Man Utd, I guess Manchester born Gray is a city fan. He rambles on about, "How the songs are now stored on a server in London & his ear piece is connected to the Internet to receive them." On 'Please Forgive Me' the bass player appears with a huge electric double bass which pounds through the reworked version, shaking the building, Gray sings & looks at the crowd at the same time as he sings, "I go half a mile to scream out loud." The lights light up the hall as the audience screams!
As the song fades out, multicoloured spotlights behind the stage start flashing in random sequences, the floor pounding like some crazy rave party, as the drums build up this huge momentum, the song gathers a new pace of its own, it actually works really well, as the song is extended with a very upbeat bass tune which gets couples in the audience dancing. This lasts for an amazing & enjoyable 8 or 9 minutes.
Time for a quick break then Gray & the band return for a welcome encore. As a Dylanesque style harmonica starts, Gray takes up guitar again & belts out 'Everytime' like his life depends on it. Finally the show is brought to a gentle end with the sad, but poignant and uplifting 'On The Other Side'.
Gray's show is masterclass in musicianship & the performance is perfect, with no errors or dropped notes. Gray is a national treasure & hopefully it won't be long, until once again, I spend a summer Sunday afternoon in a field in his presence at one of the major festivals.
World To Me
Life in Slow Motion
My Oh My
Please Forgive Me
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article by: Gary Stafford
photos by: Gary Stafford
| published: 11/03/2008 11:54|