I had a fine time.
I’ll stop doing that now.
I have a memory of seeing Cast in a venue, half the size of the O2 Academy, at the height of the Britpop era…it was in Dundee, I had hair, I was two stone lighter and the future lay ahead of me; all glistening dreams and glittering hopes.
Here we are nearly a quarter of a century later and much has changed…and yet much remains the same.
I’ve lost my quiff.
I’ve lost a 30″ waist.
Hopes and dreams have been replaced by the harsh, although sometimes joyous, realities of life in middle age.
Cast though remain the same.
Following the demise of The La’s, John Powers decided that he wanted to be in a band who, you know, actually wrote, recorded and released music that people could listen to, dance to, sing along to and feel moved by. His former band mate, Lee Mavers, was more interested in the authenticity of speakers and whether or not the dust in the studio was the same dust that had been there in 1967…or something.
Powers then decided to go it alone.
Fuelled by a desire to sing, play and write he formed Cast…and he sang and wrote and played.
Songs that were era defining.
Songs that touched hearts.
Songs that pleased crowds.
Songs that would remain untouched by the passing of the time.
Tonight on this “greatest hits” tour Cast reveal that they have been doing all of that to a standard most bands can only dream of and they do it with such joy, such passion, such power that, at times, it comes close to blowing the socks right off of our feet.
I’m not exaggerating.
Not even a little.
The crowd tonight is about three times the size of the one that was in attendance the night I saw them all those years ago which is testament to the power of the music and their every man qualities. Cast look the way we would all look if we were in their position…smiles on their faces, hitting every chord and every note as if it were the only chord or note that they will ever play again, punching the air, clapping their hands, losing themselves in the moment. There is something thrilling about knowing the band are enjoying themselves as much as you are…no going through the motions for Powers and the gang, they are feeling it ma-an.
The penultimate song tonight is “History” which, in common parlance, is an absolute banger. It has more melody than the entire Spotify catalogue…it’s a roller that rocks. Here it is played at one more than ten from the first note to the last and the floor beneath my feet is literally moving as the bass throbs and the crowd bounce with a ferocity that, were it not born of such delight, would be terrifying. Like Led Zeppelin or The Who in their pomp this is a British rock and roll classic…and it’s not even the best song they play tonight.
The set is littered with songs that helped to define the nineties like “Fine Time”, “Sandstorm”, “Walkaway” and “Flying” but it is rinsed clean from the stain of pure nostalgia by the presence of songs from the last few years like “Baby Blue Eyes” from “Kicking up the Dust” and “Giving it all Away” from “Beetroot”. It is a back catalogue that delivers thrills and spills from the first moment to the last.
Ah, the last moment.
“Alright” is a stone cold classic right?
I knew you would agree.
I doubt anyone in the audience would have complained had they heard just that one song before the band announced technical difficulties would mean no more…seriously. It’s just one of those songs. A song guaranteed to lift your spirits, to bring a crowd to its feet, to drag strangers into the arms of other strangers, to force the most painfully shy to cast off their inhibitions and sing along. Not too many bands ever write a song that can do that…Cast have written dozens of ’em.