November 29, 2001
naldrett - uk correspondent
In a way it
was like stepping into a Stereophonic living room. Each guitarist
had their own grandma-style patterned rug, there were loads of
candles burning all over the stage and I wouldnt have been
surprised to learn there was incense and a few family photos up
there, too. Not ones to live up to the rock n roll
stereotypes, there was no prancing around the stage and very little
acknowledgement of the audience. In fact, the rugs may well have
been there to mark territory because frontman Kelly Jones never
ventured away from it.
But as low
key and laid back as the Welsh stars may be, this tour has marked
the ascendance of the Stereophonics to a high plain in the whole
post-Britpop music scene. Theyre pretty close to occupying
the position that Oasis held when the phonics were plugging
their first single back in 1997. Much of the current hype that
ensured the 2001 tour of UK arenas was a sellout is down to the
critical success piled onto the new album, Just
Enough Education To Perform, and they drew their best
live material from this. On saying that, the best song of the
night was the first.
started with a five minute instrumental as the band made their
way on stage and the light show and giant TV behind them got into
full swing. The packed crowd would have hung on every word that
Jones said, but the truth is that he didnt say all that
much! Other that welcoming the Sheffield crowd, and thanking them
for parting with their hard earned cash, he kept pretty much to
himself. And thats a pity, because when bands start simply
to hammer out track after track it can lead to a dull night.
managed to avoid this up to a point as they knocked out all their
well known hits. And so we had a cracking "Just Looking"
a dubiously poor "Handbags and Gladrags" and "Have
A Nice Day," which, to be fair, did merit some explanation
of how it came about after a taxi ride in San Fransico ("We
were driven around for 45 minutes with a taxi driver talking shit,
and then he told use to have a nice day"). And an acoustic
version of "Step On My Old Size Nines" was well received,
but after that things started to drag on and the end of the 110
minute set was lacklustre, with an encore that was amongst the
worst Ive seen.
of the candles on the stage, the Stereophonics burned themselves
out far too early and unfortunately were victims of their own
set list. Everybody could have left happier, but the Stereophonics
snowball is only going to get bigger.