First in line! And so worth it -- was on the rail.
The orchestra (in the back) that was brought in for the Ocean Rain portion of the set played like the devil was after them:
But they were probably just afraid of Ian McCulloch. Seriously. There was a point when Ian merely pointed at a roadie offstage, and the touring bass and rhythm guitarists between them visibly jumped. He also told various persons in the audience to fuck off at least twice. And yelled obscenities at the lighting folks. And told the audience he liked wearing sunglasses because it meant he couldn't see them, and he liked it that way. But then you see him finish singing 'Stormy Weather' and he smiles to himself and says, "I just love singing that song" and you just love him to pieces for being so curmudgeonly.
I know, I'm gross.
Here's Will Sergeant and Ian McCulloch. I wonder if they still can't stand each other. Each never looked at or acknowledged the other and stayed exactly where you see them for the whole set. Will still kicks ass on the gee-tar. Some things never change.
And Oi: Ian McCulloch at 50. He had such a gorgeous gorgeous voice, and dammit, he still does when he wants to. When he sang "screaming from beneath the WAA-AA-A-AA-A-AVES" during 'Ocean Rain' you could hear his limitations but he fucking nailed it. The secret? He was sucking down cough drops and Remy Martin, but no smoking onstage. Anyway, his voice was just fantastic. I can't help but feel everyone should hear him sing live, if you can bear his disdain for you and the rest of the audience. He's a charmer, that one!
But the sad thing is, the man sang with his hands in front of his face the whole time, with the lights directed at the audience. The verdict in the front row was vanity. C'mon, we know you were really beautiful when you were young, and we also know you're not 25 anymore! Get over it! So, that said, this is the closest one gets to a face shot.
Dammit, one of these days I'll get myself a press pass and take some decent photos. Then again, I was on the rail, which was 10 feet from the stage, which should have contributed to photo decency. But as you can see the lighting made the iPhone limitations even more apparent (EDIT 10.24: it seems it was the same for the pros too). Wouldn't have mattered anyhow -- we were repeatedly warned NO FLASH or the show would be cut short. Ian Ian Ian. :)
Anyway, GREAT show, loved and savored it like it was something you get to see only a few times in a lifetime, highly recommended. Are there really only 3 dates in North America? Shame.
See you at the barricades babe
See you when the lights go low joe