Re-living Rock City..
I’m probably late to the party for anyone who reads this blog – but whilst Rockstock and Rolling out the Festival Barrel was a perfectly justifiable excuse for missing trips to Buckley and Burnley at the weekend with Ferocious Dog, waiting for me when I got home was what might prove to be my salvation when financial and logistics make a trip to Exeter and Newbury highly unlikely next weekend. Yes, the hotly anticipated live CD and DVD from November’s sell out gig at Rock City in Nottingham!
Having got back from Willington Ella and I spent a chilled afternoon airing the tent in the garden listening to the CD – the sound quality is great! Remembering poor croaky Ken just a week before the gig in the rehearsal studio, it’s pretty amazing really. After that the doctor ordered him to cancel the gigs in Stroud and Cardiff right before Rock City – the transformation that rest and recuperation yielded is incredible. Not so much as a lyrical slip either!
If you’re a ‘full contact’ Ferocious Dog spectator frankly quite often nuances either visual or aural can easily be missed in the blur – and on Rock City day, okay – the Hell Hound AGM – it had been a long day! Coupled with a raft of awesome music before the main event, plenty of drink and food (and Ella and I were both feeling ill) – my memories of the night itself are a bit blurry, the amazing atmosphere, getting my surfboard nicked (ha!), being pinballed round the moshpit – but above everything else an amazing homecoming and moment of history, watching them take to that famous stage and frankly own it for an hour and a half.
When I think back to the Newcastle gig when I was showing Ken a timelapse video of the stage build I’d hastily taken – he beckoned Dan over and a quick discussion over using more video stuff quickly escalated to seeing how feasible it would be to get a proper film crew at Rock City. I think Dan made the enquiries that very night – I’ve always hankered after them running a recording from the sounddesk at gigs too – at the time he wasn’t keen as it could impact album sales, which was a fair comment – but of course, a special occasion gig – it had to be done!
The packaging is lovely too – particularly the CD in a digipack format – open it up to reveal a shot of the band with the crowd in the background, the CD itself printed with the same image. On the reverse is Ken, arm aloft, with his Lee Bonsall t-shirt on. The CD is thoughtfully edited to fit on one disc, meaning some of the between-song talk is missing (thank you Geoff for helping me get an audio rip of the DVD so I can use that to get the full gig in audio form too – the OCD freak in me is probably going to have to chop it up into individual tracks at some point though!)
Dean had to sit back at Aberdeen to watch from afar – and I’m inclined to agree that in the moment that’s not a good thing to have to do, however as an opportunity to re-live or re-remember something that passed by in a blur it’s great. The delighted grins on the faces of the band, the lightshow, the crowd going crazy (luckily this ungainly writer escapes much camera attention!) – it’s great to take it all in in that context. I know there are Les backing vocal moments – I hadn’t appreciated how many ’til watching the recording!
I’ve had it playing to and from work today – not only does it finally mean a decent recorded rendering of the extended version of Freeborn John (featuring Bru-C) it’s ace to hear repeatedly the little random flourishes that get thrown in that might be different to the recordings. I notice them live, but they blend and blur and I forget – Scott in particular really puts his stamp on the songs, or Les’s little guitar flourish at the start of Freeborn John.
I’ve long hankered for a proper live Ferocious Dog gig in audio form – and we really have that here – the ultimate gig so far really too. I am the kind of strange hoarder who would merrily have recordings of every gig stashed away, but well, if I had to have one then this is the one!
If you’ve yet to be convinced to get yourself a copy of the CD or the DVD then you really should. The sound quality is great, if you were present at the gig they make an amazing memento of a special day and night for all of us. If you weren’t there, then you can re-live a bit of that amazing atmosphere. Not least to check out the interview Gaz Brookfield does with Ken and Dan to find out key things like which were the best cheeses experienced on tour (there was a lot of cheese) and find out Ken’s Ian Hollowayesque new term for what Ferocious Dog songs need to be…
Above all, if I need a little injection of Ferocious Dog on Friday and Saturday whilst they’re rocking Exeter and Newbury I’ll have a back-up plan available to me. Of course, it’s not the same…