Robyn Hitchcock... Gigography

The Soft Boys
Concert appearance: Fri., 22 Feb. 2002

Victoria & Albert Museum
London, England UK

Set list:

Kingdom of Love
I Wanna Destroy You
Queen of Eyes
My Mind is Connectedů

So.. Friday's gig... firstly it's worth noting that Chrissy had a premonitionary dream about this one... she said that the set had been very short, with the whole thing ending in anarchy when someone (she couldn't remember whether it was the band or the audience) starting throwing food...

Well, there were no edible projectiles as far as I can remember, but otherwise the dream was apparently pretty much how it was:

8.15 arrives, we crane our necks up to the stage (which is actually a balcony 30 feet or so above our heads) and see that there's not a great deal going on (although I later realise it's a band playing up there). I fill out my I Spy Soft Boys booklet with all four current members whilst we wait - they're all milling around with the crowd.

The museum is, it has to be said, an incredibly beautiful place, ornate and filled with art treasures... in the lobby, hanging from the centre of the dome is the most incredible chandelier/sculpture I've ever seen - green and yellow bulbs and tentacles of glass creating a cthuloid creature hanging in empty space... fantastic... up on the balcony there is a triptych with Christ blessing in the centre, hanging over the bands (it's now 9pm and there is a different band up there now).

So we wait and wait, drinking more beer, occasionally going out to the garden (the only place you could smoke) and coming back in again, appreciating the architecture, but mostly just waiting.

Finally, the band come out onto the balcony... start with Kingdom of Love.... fair enough I think... then into I Wanna Destroy You, nice, but nothing of a surprise, next up bleddy Queen Of Eyes (I should point out here that the gig at the Garage the other week was I think the first Robyn gig I've been to where he *hasn't* played QOE), by this time I've given up concentrating on the distant, booming, echoey band and was staring up at the amazing cthulu chandelier... it looks amazing over my glasses (ie. it goes all blurry). People are dancing, everyone of these trendy-haired Londoners seem to be enjoying themselves... the band play My Mind Is Connected To Your Dreams and then they're off... it is 10pm (when the evening is meant to end). The band have played for 20 minutes.

Was this gig a disappointing waste of time? I don't know... it was a very interesting experience to see a gig in such opulence, sited in such a beautiful structure, but organisationally, the whole thing was an utter shambles. God knows why the bands' change-overs were so time consuming (I looked up and saw two blokes "one-two-two"ing the same bloody mic!), leaving the actual sets by the bands very short (in the Soft Boys' case it was too short). I guess museum/gallery staff don't make very good gig promoters...

That, as they say, is all...



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