The last time I saw Supergrass was a quarter of a century ago.
Can you give me a moment while I wipe the tears from my eyes?
It is strange to think that I was just twenty-two years old. That probably means that Supergrass were about, well, twelve? Thirteen maybe? Who knows.
My memories of that gig are that it was one ballroom blitz of a pop ‘n’ roll bopper after another. “I Should Coco” had only just been released and I am fairly confident that they played everything on that album…but that means that none of the following songs were in the set; “Going Out”, “Richard III”, “Sun Hits the Sky”, “Cheapskate”, “Late in the Day”, “Pumping on Your Stereo”, “Moving”, “Mary”, “Grace”, “Seen the Light”, “Rush Hour Soul”, “Kiss of Life”, “St Petersburg”, “Low C” or “Diamond Hoo Ha Man”…and that is just the singles.
Wild is the wind that blows outside of the famous Barrowlands. Storm something-or-other is battering Glasgow as we wait patiently in the line. Before we get inside a steward walks the line and informs us; “Cash only inside folks. No cash, no booze. No booze, no party”. Welcome to Glasgow.
People talk about the best venues for live music but anyone who has ever attended a gig in Glasgow knows that there is no better place for in the country and there is no better place in the city than the Barrowland Ballroom. The sprung floor, the climb to the main hall, the ghosts of everyone who ever mattered in music history ever stalking the corridors…it is the place.
There can be no better crowd than a Glasgow crowd either.
I know, I know.
Everyone, everywhere thinks there city is the best for these things.
But I’m not from Glasgow.
I’m from Edinburgh.
And let me tell you, there is no love lost between the denizens of either city so for me to afford such warmth and praise to my Weegie neighbours is a rare thing…the highest praise imaginable.
I’ve never seen a Glasgow crowd do the famous Edinburgh horse-shoe…where nobody dares enter the space directly in front of the stage…or be anything other than giddily rowdy from the first note to the last.
When you add into that fevered atmosphere a band like Supergrass who have more hit records than Spotify and more big tunes than the entire “Now…” back catalogue then you know that something special is going to unfold.
But nothing unfolds here.
What actually happens is that the ‘Grass hit the stage, fling back the covers and within two and a half minutes have reminded everyone that, really, they were, and probably remain, one of the greatest bands to emerge from Britain during the nineties and that they still remain one of the great live acts. It doesn’t matter that Gaz forgets the lyrics at one point…an error he puts down to his “addled brain” before clarifying with “…drug addled” because, frankly, nobody cares. We want to be free, we want to have a good time, we want to be hit in the face with the sort of dizzy pop thrills that make us lose ourselves, forget the humdrum mundanity of our existence and party like it’s 1995.
Supergrass are happy to oblige.
What remains to be seen is if this marks the genuine return of the diamond hoo-ha men, if this tour will convince them that the love we gave then has never diminished, indeed it seems to have grown and intensified. That love should really be rewarded with another Supergrass album…