A wonderful Christmas time

Martin and James – Stereo, Glasgow; December 19th, 2013

It was quite a long trip to Glasgow and back compared to the time spent there, but seeing Martin and James playing on their home turf was well worth it. Just like their last hometown gig two years ago this was something special, felt more like a private party than a concert. Even though the setlist was pretty much the same we had hear on the tour it was all new and fresh and different. The perfect last Martin and James concert of the year.

Arrived in the early afternoon, met K. at our hotel and went out for food – instantly felt better, but still pretty dead from lack of sleep. It was all comfortably relaxed though, because we did not have to line up early. We met up with N. and S., checked out the local Christmas market (where they sold “make your own snow”) and finally arrived at the venue shortly before the doors opened. We were still the only people in line and everyone was strangely happy to see us there. Also, they were all excited about the guys playing at home, I immediately felt welcome.

The concert took place in the small downstairs hall of the club – this time around without seats and only a few wooden cubes to sit on by the walls. We went to the front row as always, but the other people stayed by the side or in the back. The microphone stands were decorated with Christmas lights. A nice tough, only the living room lamps from the 2012 tour were missing. We chatted; I tried the famous IRN Bru, Ryan and Connor set up the stage. Slowly the place filled, but still nobody came to stand with us. One guy walked over, asked us where we were from and told us that he also was a fan not a member of the family or circle of friends. So they do have a few fans in Scotland after all. 😀

At 8:15 they started and had the same band as on the previous tour except for the drummer. The guys seemed quite relaxed and in a good mood, knowing they were surrounded by friends. They left out most of their usual song introductions but still talked quite a bit. Martin remarked he didn’t have to try his bad German today because we all must be fluent in Glasgowegian by now. I denied that, smiling.

For me it made a world of difference that I didn’t have any concerts to go to for a while – it made this one stand out. Also I deliberately did not take any pictures and just enjoyed what I was hearing and seeing. Some might think “She * never* takes pictures of the special ones”, but I think of it as truly enjoying the special once and creating strong memories in my mind that could not be told with pictures anyway. They sounded great too and I did my best to sing along, even though I still don’t know all of the lyrics to the newer songs (shame on me!). Quite often I turned to K., sharing a line or two with her, smiling. Just like S. and N. she looked so happy to be there. 😀

The mood was perfect that night and even though there might not have been as much clapping or singing along as there sometime sis at the shows in Germany, I had the feeling everyone was enjoying the show. The crowd was nicely mixed in age too – quite different to some other concert. Clearly, their entire families had come to support Martin and James and see their hometown gig. Thus, there was a lot of chatter and socializing going on during the concert, but there was dancing as well. 🙂

We had a few laughs when James thought Ryan had put IRN Bru for him on stage. K. told him it was hers, but he took a sip anyway. At some point, Martin’s fly was open. N. and K. told him discreetly, but then he announced it to everyone. We shook our heads laughing.

The setlist was pretty much the same as on the past tour, but they left out ‘All over the News’ and ‘the Rope’. I would have loved to hear the latter, but I guess they felt it did not quite fit with the audience they had. The faster songs got a better response than the slow ones. Singing along was loudest for ‘Matilda’, which was not surprising with much of her family in the audience. ‘Where I belong’ led to lots of cheers though and ‘You’ll be gone and I’ll be here’ got the best overall reception. 🙂 Everything was just right and as far as I’m concerned they could have played anything. I just enjoyed being there and soaked up the atmosphere of the place

Somewhere mid-gig James announced that we had come from Germany for them – you could not keep that quiet, could you? 😀 People actually clapped and I joked with the others if we should take a bow now. 😉

They did an acoustic part including ‘You’re a Window’ “ohne Strom” – S. and I had to take our bags off the stage so they had room to step all the way to the front. I loved every minute of the show, with band and without and could have listened for many hours. Unfortunately it did not last quite that long. Too soon they left the stage and it was time to yell for encores.

As the very last song the guys played ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’. They claimed to have rehearsed it, but it was very much improvised. I half expected Ryan to join them on stage, but he did not, even though they called out to him. It was lovely nonetheless and a good ending point to a memorable night.

Setlist

Bloom
Where I belong
Cold Heart
My dog don’t like the rain
My last prayer
Tides
Cynical skin
Crashing into love
I know a girl
Maybe it’s time
You’re a window
Somebody
I have to fall
See no land
Wrong directions
Matilda
Little bits of light
You’ll be gone, I’ll be here
Life’s a show
Wonderful Christmas Time

Afterwards they were immediately surrounded by family and friends. I did not want to bother them so I left the Christmas cookies I had brought with Ryan. Slowly people left and we headed upstairs for a drink. Martin’s dad insisted on buying us one, which we gladly accepted. Later, James mom came to talk to us and asked for a group hug too. She left and sent James over to our table so we had the chance to chat with him a little. When he was gone, K. and I went back to our hotel. It was going to be a short night for me. Lying in bed, unable to sleep, I could not sop smiling and knew I would not have wanted to miss this concert. It was well worth the trip.

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