WORDS AND IMAGES BY DESH KAPUR
‘The Love In The Venue Was Palpable’
I love The Albert Hall as a venue, with it’s big stained-glass windows and seated balcony. It’s so atmospheric and it was the perfect venue for tonight’s celebration.
Tonight had all the ingredients for a great gig. One of my favourite bands in one of my favourite venues, it couldn’t get any better than that….or could it?
The house PA music stopped, and the support act for tonight was about to enter the stage. There was only one acoustic guitar set up ready to go, so I knew it was going to be an acoustic set of some sort. I’m up for that! Then on walked a man I recognized straight away and a big smile spread right across my face. It was the legendary Ben Ottewell from another one of my all-time favourite bands Gomez …WHAT??!! How did this night just get even better?
It was a short and sweet set from the amazing Gomez frontman; his amazing deep gravelly, blues-soaked voice filling the venue. He played a brilliant set of stripped backed Gomez songs, starting with ‘Whipping Piccadilly’ and went on to play, ‘Bring It On’, ‘Tijuana Lady’ and ‘Rose’. Brilliant and a reminder of what a great band Gomez are…. not that I need reminding, they are always in rotation on my turntable.
1.) Whippin’ Piccadilly (Gomez song)
2.) Rose (Gomez song)
3.) Tijuana Lady (Gomez song)
So, it was time for Travis. Do you remember that at one point in their career they were considered the biggest band in the world? They had massive hits 20 years ago with songs like, ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me?’, ‘Sing’, ‘Driftwood’ and ‘Turn’.
Originating in Scotland and formed in Glasgow in 1990, the band consists of Fran Healy (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Dougie Payne (bass guitar, backing vocals), Andy Dunlop (lead guitar, banjo, backing vocals) and Neil Primrose (drums, percussion).
They released their debut album, ‘Good Feeling’ in 1997, to moderate success, where it debuted at number nine on the UK album charts. Their second album ‘The Man Who’ was released in 1999 and catapulted them to rock superstardom, spending nine weeks at number one on the UK Albums Chart, totalling 134 weeks in the top 100 of the chart. In 2003, ‘The Man Who’ was certified 9 × platinum, representing sales of over 2.68 million in the UK alone.
Following this success, the band released their third album, ‘The Invisible Band’ in 2001 – the record we are celebrating tonight. The album went on to match the success of the previous album, it debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and spent a total of four weeks at the top spot, as well as peaking at thirty-nine on the US Billboard 200 album chart.
In recent years, the band’s discography has included studio album ’12 Memories’ (2003), ‘The Boy with No Name’ (2007), ‘Ode to J Smith’ (2012), ‘Where You Stand’ (2013), ‘Everything at Once’ (2016) and ’10 Songs’ (2020).
In 2004, the band released their first greatest hits album, ‘Singles’, which spent nineteen weeks in the top 100 of the UK albums chart. Travis has twice been awarded best band at the BRIT Awards and was awarded the NME Artist of the Year award at their 2000 ceremony, and in 2016 were honoured at the Scottish Music Awards for their outstanding contribution to music. History lesson over, it’s time for the here and now.
Travis took to the stage like a band who have done it all (and they have), but you could also see how much they still love playing live.
“We’re back!!” announced Travis frontman Fran Healey.
They started with a big hitter in ‘Sing’ the first track on ‘The Invisible Band’ and even though the crowd was a bit more mature in age compared to some of the gigs I have covered lately, they were just as loud, and the first song of the night took the crowd right up. The love in the venue was palpable.
Frontman Fran Healy informed the now packed-out Albert Hall, that they would be playing the ‘The Invisible Band ‘album in it’s entirety and track order and finishing the night with some big hitter from their other releases; the best of the rest, if you will.
Most of all, tonight was a beautiful walk down memory lane because as we know right now, nostalgia sells… Yes tonight was packed with nostalgia, but it was also a reminder of how good Travis is and how iconic some of their songs have become; Travis are the masters of writing indie bangers.
Tonight was brilliant. The new songs sat comfortably with the old, and the crowd seem to accept them willingly, but of course, the biggest cheers, applause and sing-a-longs were for the songs that soundtracked the late nineties and the early part of the noughties, in a time that felt free, with endless summers and the feeling you could achieve anything. Travis were a staple of summer festivals and Radio One back then, along with the likes of Stereophonics, Coldplay, Snow Patrol and Keane, but they can still hold a crowd and take them with them, on a trip down Memory Lane, yes, but they are also still relevant today, and for any musician that means the world.
2/ DEAR DIARY
4/ PIPE DREAMS
5/ FLOWERS IN THE WINDOW
6/ THE CAGE
8/ FOLLOW THE LIGHT
9/ LAST TRAIN
12/ HUMPTY DUMPTY
13/ A GHOST
15/ MY EYES
FOLLOW BEN OTTEWELL