I arrived at the Blackpool station around 5:30PM, where I was met by my couch surfing host Katie, who was kind enough to put me up for the night. There weren’t any trains that ran from Blackpool to London late enough for me to catch one home after the show, but it matters not, because consequently I was able to make a new friend and have a lovely time. We went back to her place where I met her flat mates, all of whom were art students, as was Katie. We ate a delicious dinner, and left for a pub called the ‘Blue Room,’ that was just down the street from the Blackpool Empress Ballroom, where the show was being held. We all had Weston’s cider, which comes with an icy slush layer on the top… I questioned whether my drink was supposed to come this way, but indeed, it was, and it was fantastic. I decided to have another pint before heading down to the show, and once the second pint had been put away, and the alcohol which it contained was flowing through my system, I decided that it was time to head for the show in an attempt to catch some of the opening band’s performance. Katie went with me because I didn’t know exactly where I was going, and on the way we saw a man who had earlier asked us if we needed tickets. Katie had considered it earlier but decided against it, and when he saw us this time, he lowered his price to £20, which was HALF of what I paid for my ticket! She knew that this price was too good to turn down, so she paid the man, and off we went. I was glad to have a friend to see the concert with!
We presented our tickets and entered the venue, and then into the main hall. We weaved our way through the mass of people and all the way up to the front of the crowd; we were one person away from being up against the barrier. We inquired to those around us about the opening band, and we were informed that they were rubbish; drinking the second pint was definitely a better use of time.
Shortly after 9PM, they began. The curtains opened, and there was a giant white sheet on which the bands shadows were silhouetted. Terry’s voice came floating out over the crowd: “Enjoyyyyy yourself. It’s later than you thinkkkkkk,” followed by drums, and they went immediately into “Do The Dog.” “Enjoy Yourself” was performed later on in the set; it was the last song performed before the encore.
The setlist was nearly perfect… I would have liked to hear “Pressure Drop,” and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” though they’re both covers, so it’s fair that they didn’t play them.
Terry’s stage presence… is just strange. He looks miserable up on stage… as though he’d rather be anywhere else in the world. All of the other members of the band were hugely energetic and the whole performance just blew me away. I feel I should add the performing members were all of the original members of The Specials, except for Jerry Dammers, who was replaced by a younger chap by the name of Nik Torp.
This is just yet another thing that I feel beyond lucky to be have been able to experience. Before six months ago, I don’t think I’d ever have guessed that I would be able to see The Specials perform. Oh! Also, Katie and I were BOTH able to snag a setlist! All in all, I feel truly blessed to have been able to have such a wonderful experience.
After the show, we decided to go back to Katie’s and drink some more. In short, a perfect end to a perfect night.
Drink number one of Westons Cider in progress
Me, Katie, her boyfriend Steve, and her roommate Naomi at the Blue Room before the show
Terry Hall and Neville Staple
Horace Panter and Neville Staple
Terry Hall, and Nik Torp in the background
Neville, with Horace Panter and John Bradbury (on drums) in the background
Roddy Radiation, and two of the horn players in the background (not original members)
perfect. perfect. perfect.