Paris, Monday 17 June by Garry Smith
So after three days seeing the sights of Paris in the blazing sunshine - (life's so tough sometimes ;-)) - Nancy and I turned up at the Olympia on Monday night.
It seems French crowds arrive early, are pretty sober (mostly drinking water), are well-behaved, watch the support band, and, in general, are quite short, so you can see past them (Scandinavians, please note :-)).
The Olympia is a small theatre - smaller than Brixton or Hammersmith - with seats upstairs, and standing room downstairs. We were near the back downstairs - about 20 feet behind the mixing desk - but we still weren't far from the stage, and we could see easily.
Let's forget the support band - Thirty-One - who played dull rock and were fronted by a tomboy vocalist who'd taken her vocals from Toyah Wilcox (or some other female from 20 years ago), and many of her actions from Angus Young of AC/DC. Bizarre....
DP's set :
Steve and Jon did their solo bits in the usual places.
No Bloodsucker (don't know why), and Someone Stole... has also gone since I saw them at Brixton. Also, No One Came and _|_W swapped around.
Total time, about 2hr and 5 or 10 mins.
The sound was good - I couldn't hear Jon, except in his solos, for the first two or three tunes, but after that it was just great. All the band were playing just great - just cookin', and so were the audience because it was *hot*!!
The audience went wild at the very start of Fireball, and continued going wild all the way through. The band looked as though they were *really* enjoying it. I got the impression that the Olympia is somewhere special to play - when Ian G was talking to the crowd about being in the middle of a long tour (no mention of America), he said that they'd already played Paris, but that someone asked them to come back and play the Olympia, and they all said "Yes!!".
The audience favourites seemed to be Fireball, B Night, P Strangers, and H Star - where Steve did the original guitar solo (a la MH & MiJ), and the audience sang along with it! SOTW was well received, but didn't seem to be *the* number one favourite of the crowd. We also thought that the crowd were more appreciative of the slower, quieter bits (Steve's solo, WaBMC) than the British crowd was.
Little Ian had a short solo in Speed King - don't remember that from Brixton.
But the surprise of the night came when BNight finished. In the gloom, with the stage lights off, I thought I could see someone standing up at the back of stage centre, above and between Jon and Ian. When the lights came up, Big Ian looked back and said in surprise "There's blokes up there!" Yes, indeed - a 3-piece brass section - sax, trumpet and trombone!!
They played on Cascades, disappeared, came back for NOCame and _|_W, went off again, and finally returned for HStar. They didn't do solos, just beefed up the sound in the songs - if you listen especially to Cascades and NOCame, then you'll easily see where a brass section could help. And yes, I *could* hear them - they *did* help.
Apparently they were three local blokes - obviously friends of someone - and they were introduced by Jon as "Eric - trumpet, Christian - trombone, and Vincent - sax." Jon even tried a French joke - something like "...et a gauche, mais non gauche...." - "and on the left, but *not* gauche....". Truly, there is no end to this band's talents...:-)
Anyway, a fantastic time was had by all - by us, by the crowd, and by the band. Sorry, folks, but this beat the hell out of Brixton!!! The atmosphere was so much better, and the band played brilliantly. The best I've seen them, ever!
Before you ask - no, I don't have tapes. However, there were (official) mikes hanging beneath the balcony, and the man on the sound desk said it *was* recorded, but said he didn't know what use would be made of the tapes (I was asking about live albums....). So if anyone here knows anyone there.....