HAVING BOUGHT the tickets in February, I had a long, long wait 'til 9th June to see Semisonic for the first time. I kept the tickets in a prominent place, just in case we forgot to go—as if! However, they were a reassuring reminder of that future Saturday night. It was also my half-birthday celebration. My birthday in December 2000 had been such a disaster for a variety of reasons that I decided then to celebrate it six months later instead. I had no idea how—then, the news that Semisonic would be touring left me in no doubt. Their Nottingham concert wasn't exactly on the day, but what's 48 hours between December and June? On 15th June we were seeing Neil Young, so I had two celebrations in one week. Better than any December birthday yet!
We arrived at the Concert Hall early (how uncool can you get?), and I took the opportunity to check out the merchandise stand. I was keen to get a Semisonic T-shirt and, if possible, one that fit. So often in recent years I've had to be content with T-shirts that fit me like a voluminous dress. I asked the guy there if there was anything small enough to fit me and he showed me a really cool one—dark blue, with Semisonic in white lettering across the front, and the three orange, red and blue bubbles. With this unusually hot summer England is experiencing I'm getting a lot of wear from this souvenir, and I'm continuing to eat as much chocolate etc. as I can so I keep my weight up and the T-shirt continues to fit fairly tight. Sunshine and chocolate—what a perfect combination for me!
At 7:30 p.m. Paul and I were inside the auditorium waiting for the first band. Their roadies were setting everything up, and it wasn't until after 8:00 p.m. that an attractive young lady with a 3-piece male band arrived on stage. She played acoustic guitar, keyboards and sang—all her own songs, I believe. It was our first time inside the Royal Concert Hall, and so many people had told me how good the acoustics are—unfortunately, this didn't prove to be so with this first band as we failed to understand a word she sang or said. Those we did hear we misunderstood, and while I thought her name (or the band's) was Nuit de Paris, Paul thought it was Maria Pallant. We've since discovered his guess was closer as she is Nerina Pallot and her single "Patience" is currently being given some radio plays. It seems she's from the Channel Islands (between England and France), so we were going in the right direction with the names! They played about a 40-45 minute set and seemed competent but suffered from the distorted sound that came across to us.
Paul and I looked at each other—so this is good acoustics? If Semisonic are as inaudible I shall cry, I said. Their roadies worked at getting everything right. We listened to the music being played in the break—R.E.M.'s "Reno" came over the speakers and made me feel good. I was so excited about seeing Semisonic. Their music is so emotive it can make be cry—this is going to be an introverted, tearful evening, I thought. I was saddened when I'd found out, on receipt of the tickets, that cameras are not allowed in the Concert Hall as I could have got some great photos of them from where I was sitting—third row.
9:10 p.m. and Dan, John, and Jake arrived in front of us with Chris Joyner, who played keyboards for them, and I was totally overwhelmed. I was right in front of Dan—no more than five feet from him. I'd have to work at remembering to breathe for the next two hours!
They started with "Singing in my Sleep," if my memory serves me right (which it often doesn't). Sometime during this song, Dan looked down in my direction and I couldn't help thinking that if he could hear me singing in his sleep it would quickly turn into a nightmare for him. However, I was just so amazed at being close to three of my music heroes, and even nearer to one of them, that it's a wonder I can remember anything of that night. One of the first things that struck us was the excellence of the sound - no audibility problems at all. "Singing in my Sleep" was followed by "Never You Mind," and as the evening rushed past, they played most of their well-loved songs from Feeling Strangely Fine, All About Chemistry and a few from Great Divide:
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This review Copyright © 2002, Lauretta Hobson. All rights
reserved. Reproduced with permission.
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