24 June '98, The Q Club, Birmingham, UK
Fan Club Gig

reviewed by Lisa Mantle

As soon as I walked into the venue and saw where the stage was, I couldn't believe my eyes that it was such a small venue and we would be able to be so close to the stage without getting squashed to death! It was great just to be among so many genuine fans who shared your feelings - you could see the anticipation and excitement on people's faces as we patiently waited for the gig to start - we all knew tonight was going to be something very special - and we were not disappointed!

It was definitely the best gig I have ever been to in the whole of my 30 years! - I've never felt such an intense, ecstatic feeling at a gig before - I think mainly due to the size of the venue - it was as close to seeing Blur play for you personally as you'd get! It really was a very emotional experience - I even found myself in tears on several occasions due to an overwhelming happiness!

Damon particularly seemed very happy to be able to play and perform exactly what they wanted to do - with all restraints of having to promote a particular album removed. They all genuinely looked to be enjoying themselves more so than usual - maybe because they knew that everyone in the audience had a real appreciation of their music, and not just gone along because a few hit singles had grabbed their attention, as at publicly available gigs.

The overall performance was excellent - still very professional even though it was much more relaxed, and seemed like they wouldn't have cared even if they had made mistakes! Damon was in a chatty mood, and told the occasional ditty such as hoping there wasn't a gas leak in the building (following The Universal) as we would probably all be blown up after everyone waving lighters in the air - mind you, to die with Blur would be some way to go!!! I was especially pleased to hear Essex Dogs and Repetition included in the set - songs I had never seen performed live before, and they also previewed a new song (something about being a country boy!) which even on first listening was really good - if this is a taste of what the new album will be like, it's going to be interesting to say the least! My only disappointment was that there were no B sides - I'd really hoped that they would play All Your Life - I still think this deserved to be an album track!

"What has happened to Dave's hair" was one of the many questions I heard flying around - he looked to have had a skinhead! Alex and Graham fans would have been happy as well because they both had knee-length shorts on. Damon looked his usual 'jeans, T shirt and stubble' self, but I'm sure I'm not the first to notice that the scruffier he looks, the more sexy he gets!

I really hope the lads know how very grateful we all were for such an excellent night - if they enjoyed performing as much as they appeared to, I'm praying that smaller venues are a sign of things to come and that we can experience another performance like that again - until then, I'll just have to settle for replaying it in my mind!


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