28 September 2017

Sparks The Hippopotamus Tour at O2 Shepherd's Bush (28 Sept)

Not for the first time I went to see Sparks two days in a row.

This time it was just Pete and myself and we went for the stalls to be closer to the band, to be amongst other fans and to have the opportunity to dance a little.

We got into the queue about 15 minutes before the door opened which was nothing like early enough to get on the rails but we were only a couple of people back and I had a decent view of both Ron and Russell all evening, though I had to work a little to defend it from a woman who kept leaning into me. I took the contact rather than concede the space.

The chance meetings continued and among those who had queued early (being there at 3:30pm was not good enough to get to the front apparently) were a couple who used to live around the corner from me and who once gave me tickets for a Sparks radio interview that they could not make. They had moved away a few years ago which explained why I had not seen them for a while.

It was quite a long wait for Sparks, over two hours in total, yet the time passed easily enough despite the somewhat unusual support act and a very bland pint of Tuborg Green, a beer I will always associate with with working in Denmark (Hjorring).

The set list was, unsurprisingly, almost identical to the day before. There were eighteen songs plus two encores on both nights but two songs, numbers four and ten in the running list, were changed. I am not going to pretend that I wrote that from memory, I am relying on setlist.fm which I have often found to be a useful resource.

I was there to be in the crowd and to dance a little so I deliberately did not try to take many photos, just a couple like this one to prove that I was there.

The sound and the performance were much the same as the day before and they felt better from the stalls where it was easier to join in with things like the "1" symbol during disco-classic The Number One Song in Heaven.

The set list and the supporting band were different from previous years but this was still a familiar Sparks concert and was a boisterous and bouncy feast as always.

I left the concert hall very happy (again) and made my way to Hammersmith station and an Underground train to Richmond. The chance meetings continued and I bumped into a friend from the BCSA on the platform as he changed trains. The District Line broke suddenly and I was forced onto a bus. On the bus I met James from work who sits on the desk opposite me. He had been to see The National at Apollo and had never head of Sparks. I was happy to send him a few links to start to fill this sad gap in his education.

During the curtain call Ron explained how important the UK was to Sparks in getting their musical career going and we have maintained our mutual attraction over forty years so I am confident that whatever Sparks do next that they will come back to London to showcase it. I am waiting.

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