16 October 2015

Stackridge at the Borderline, the middle of the end

This was billed as the only London date in Stackridge's farewell tour, The Final Bow, so of course I went. I also went to their gig in Putney which might be a bit surprised to learn is not in London.

Stackridge had the good sense to hold the gig on a Friday so that I could work at home first and not be encumbered by a suit and bag in the evening.

It also meant that I could be reasonably sure of getting there early enough to claim a space near the front. Even so, I left home quite early as I was still haunted by the memory of arriving late to one of their concerts when there was an incident on the railway delaying all trains. Another advantage of leaving early was that I could use the contingency time to walk the last leg rather than taking the tube all the way.

Despite being there quite early the venue was already filling up and much of the area next to the stage had been claimed. I quickly got a pint of Beck's Vier, my usual tipple at the Borderline, and took one of the remaining spaces at the front.

Stackridge also had the good sense to spread set-lists across the stage for us to photograph. I expected the set to be the same as it had been in Putney (it was) and I just took a photo of the set-list for my future information, i.e. to post here.

Before the main act we had singer-songwriter Steve Rodgers. Stackridge must have liked him as he played a long set, as he had at Putney. Then he had been solo and I was not that impressed but at the Borderline he had a three-piece band with him and I liked the sound a lot more. I was never going to rush out and buy his CD but he entertained me more than a lot of support bands had.

Then, around 9pm, Stackridge came on stage to a lot of cheering from what looked like a sold-out audience.

What followed was what had become typical Stackridge. The set was well balanced between songs that were long or short and slow or rocky.

It is hard to pick any favourites out when they are all good but just looking at the set-list again got me singing Syracuse the Elephant to myself all lunchtime. Part of that may be because it was the first Stackridge songs I ever (knowingly) heard. That was at university in 1975, the song is from the 1972 album Friendliness, and it obviously made a big impression on me as I can still remember that moment.

It was also clear that Stackridge were enjoying playing the songs as much as we enjoyed listening to them and there was a good rapport between us and them, helped by having a full room with no physical gap between performers and audience.

The evening was not entirely perfect as the strict curfew and the long support act meant that Something About the Beatles (SAT Beatles on the set-list) was dropped. A small disappointment in a great evening.

The cheering at the end was even longer and louder than usual as, I presume, that many of us knew that would be the last time that we would see them play live, though a few of us started to hatch plans to see them again on The Final Bow tour.

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