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August 3 - Norwich - Sennowe Park

by Simon Gadd
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The last of the Stately Homes gig's and what a inspired choice of venues they've been, bringing young and old to The Pretenders the serious fan and the not so serious. Midge Ure has been a great support act, his music has been excellent and his wit and audience interaction has never failed to raise a smile or a cheer. And what can I say about The Pretenders but, well do I need to say anything...........I don't think so.

The evening started with grey sky, we were delayed getting into Sennowe because Midge and his band were still doing the soundchecks. He been involved in a car accident earlier in the day but was unhurt. Kim and I joined the picnic queue for the last time. This was a sellout about 3000 people were expected to turn up. As the gates opened we thought we needn't rush the tables would be set back like Nostell, but we were wrong people were setting their chairs up right at the barrier. The rush was now on to be up front and central, we made it......Phew!!!!

As we waited for Midge to come on, the heavens opened and the rain we were hoping wouldn't come did. But it certainly wasn't going to spoil anything. Midge came on at 7.30 PM to a rapturous applause, this was one of his funniest nights, with attacks on Hear'say, Pop Idol and the whole manufactured music business, and he was right, how are bands like The Pretenders ever going to get serious airplay when all the music business wants is puppets who can't write their own music, and are here today and gone tomorrow. All the music industry is interested in is making a quick buck. As Midge played his set the sky cleared and the sun shone through ready to warm us up for The Pretenders.

As the stage was being cleared, a huge cheer came from the audience, and Wiff who was setting up Adam's gear had to look behind to see what we were cheering at, you should have seen his smile as he realized that the cheer was because the cover had been pulled off Martin's drum kit. Never has a drumkit been so famous, there's just something about it, and of course the man that sits behind it.

Again the thunderstorm effect builds up the tension, the band run on as the 3000 people rise to their feet hands in the air, Chrissie last on as always. Then straight into Fools Must Die, excellent just can't wait for the new album. Chrissie then gives her usual welcome intro for Message Of Love. Tonight was going to be different, Chrissie kept looking to the right of the stage, and I kept wondering what she was looking at, had a light gone out or something. Then she gave us the answer, shouting "You can close that thing down right now, it's putting me off" to the burger van. The onslaught would continue all the way through the concert. At one point she started handing out signed "Go Veggie with Paul McCartney and Viva" leaflets, telling the kids in the audience not to believe their parents when their told you need to eat meat to be healthy. But she kept it clean for once and no swear words, a few finger signals to the burger van every now and then. And huge cheers of agreement everytime she mentioned Veggie issues, although she would admit that 90% of her audience are meat eaters.

She did make a costume change this time bringing out the hat she had worn at Newmarket the previous evening. The band were excellent, just as tight as ever, and the crowd loved them. Photo opportunities were plentiful and I even took a couple myself. The setlist was as the other venues, but I have to say there couldn't have been a better setlist, well maybe something off Viva, but they just keep on getting better as they get older.

These shows have been excellent, and I want more now, it's shame they have to come to an end but I'm saving up right now just in case I need to go to America in November. I hope I do

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