Tuesday, December 6, 2016

On the road with The Biff - Dublin - 26 November 2016

Simon Neil

This is hard. Of course my heroic plans to update this blog while on the road failed. I barely got enough sleep anyway and I had only one day off work during all this madness. There was just no chance to make it happen and now I am sitting here with a serious post tour heartache trying to catch up on the events. So let's do this!

Let's go back to start  .... (nothing falling apart here though) and to Glasgow Airport on Friday night before the first show. Flying out in the evening instead of the morning feels kind of weird but it is much more fun if you are not traveling alone and meet up with even more people at the airport in Dublin already. I love when the Biff hit the road and my Facebook feed turns into an endless row of *insert friend's name* is traveling from X to *insert place where the band plays*.

Our hotel for two nights was The Gibson Hotel right by the venue. That place is quite fancy and pricey and I think for the money it costs it is just below what I would expect, but the location is not to beat ... you basically sleep in front of the queue so to say. Friday night was not really exciting - after one drink at the bar in good company of the Biff's stage crew we hit the hay.

The next day though? Super exciting!!! The first day of a tour is something really special and if it is a big arena tour where you have not seen the stage nor the production yet it is even more special. I always love watching the crew setting up the stage - as every Instagram follower knows from my traditional "Churd pic" before the show - but now it was all "What is this?" "God damn is this stage high!", "Why are they testing a microphone at the barrier and store it under the stage?", "Will they step out on these metal plates at the edge of the stage?"  "Oh look ... there are platforms at the very end of each side of the stage!" "Can you see Mike's microphone from here?"  "Where the hell sits Gambler again?" Questions over questions and no answers just yet ...

But then it was time!!!

Biffy Clyro
It was quite overwhelming ... all that light!!!  I will keep the main pictures of the stage for the Manchester blog post because I had seats there and a much better view, but what I can in general say is that I liked the balance of this production. It was huge and elaborate and super impressive but it always worked in support of the music. They kept it close to the purpose of visually carrying the music into the wide room. I think what needed the most adjustment for us in the front was the fact that the band was so high up and pretty far away - for our measures - for most of the show, but the extended visits on said metal plates at the edge of the stage and the platforms made it fairly easy to deal with. One thing I really liked was the fact that Si and James at several points of the show would switch sides. I have my usual spot with James and Mike and would not trade it for the world, but it is very nice to have Simon over visiting. 

James & Mike out there
Lots of people wonder why one would go and see so many shows and especially go back to back but that day I was so happy I would do Belfast as well, because it was so hard to keep up with everything that was going on and some things hit me completely unprepared like for example:  MIKE!
If you follow my Biffy stuff you know about my constant complaints that there is no proper light over Mike Vennart's head and that it is so hard to properly see and even harder to take pictures of him. Not this time though! While he is having his own (not so) little platform for most of the show, he is for some songs - especially That Golden Rule (he even climbs James's platform!) and Stingin' Belle - stepping out into the bright light of the center stage. It was hilarious and awesome when he did that the first time and the lot of diehards at the front including me just screamed "MIIIIIIIIIIIIKEEEEE" when he came out. That man had his own screaming fan club right there. It is one of my very favorite things of the whole show and I sure was better prepared with my camera in Belfast and Glasgow to catch the events.

Captain on his catwalk
Speaking of screaming. Do you remember that question from above about the microphone stored under the stage? Here is what it is for: The Captain's visit to the front row. 

Although the show is seriously long the end of the regular set comes closer so fast and before you realize it is time for the big "Many Of Horror" sing along and you can sense the end is near, but not just yet ... 
The light goes out for the guitar change and after some hectic movement in the pit one light goes on and then he is right there ... just one arm length and the span of a microphone stand away from the barrier - all the way down from that tower of a stage.
The effect is as you would image - especially here in Dublin where it still hit everyone as a total surprise hundreds of people released a collective "Oh my god."  heading for the small catwalk with their phones ups. As you can see I did not move an inch and I also kept it to a few pictures for this blog (*spoiler* - the next day I was closer to this anyway) because the song played here is "Machines" and deserves as much unspoiled attention as possible. I will talk about this more in tomorrow's blog post but this set up was absolutely intense and beautiful. 

The encore afterwards consists of my much loved "The Captain",  the not so much loved (but live it is okay and the final platform switch of Si and James makes it even better) "People" and the closer "Stingin' Belle" with the above mentioned Mike Vennart feature in the final sequence. More about this and most importantly PICTURES as well in the Belfast blog. 

Highlights ... it is so hard to single out highlights when you are completely blown away by the whole production and a two hours setlist, but there is always a good indicator - at least for me - and that's ... tears and the Dublin tears were surely flowing the most for the one and only "JUSTBOY" that made a glorious return to the set. 

What a happy day and nothing really feels better than leaving the show knowing that you will do it all again ... and again ... and again (until you don't *sigh*). 

YesDragon - Liberty Bell

I meant to switch EPs and not to stick to one, but after thinking it through "Liberty Bell" fits energy wise best to the feel of the Dublin show.
"Let's build ourselves a city ..." - our city is mobile and we take it from town to town, but it is our city. The group of friends that the music brought together is very, very special and the tour start on a Saturday allowed most of the crew to come together. Traveling for the gigs a group makes us feel free and "at home" at the same time which is probably one of the best combinations possible. 

Also ... god damn ... what a riff!!!!

The "Hustle" EP can be purchased here

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