The B-52’s Farewell European Tour
Wednesday 3rd July 2019
You know you’re getting old when the bands and artists you grew up with, are doing their farewell tours.
Only last month we went to see Elton at Cardiff, which was quite bitter-sweet in a way. He put on a superb show, but it finished with a video montage of the different eras of his career (all of which I can remember, some more fondly than others!) and had a cartoon of him disappearing along the yellow brick road. One of my earliest musical memories was hearing Goodbye Yellow Brick Road on the BBC testcard when I was aged around 4 or 5, so he’s been around as long as I can remember and it’s weird to think he’s not going to be performing any more, and in a way it’s a reminder that I’m not getting any younger myself!
At the B-52’s however, there was no such melancholy – they skipped the funeral and went straight to the wake!
Starting the show as they meant to go on, with Private Idaho cranked up to 11, and finishing with an exquisite Rock Lobster which was off the scale, it was a pure joyous life-affirming party all the way.
When you reach the end of the road, you party like there’s no tommorow, and that’s exactly what they did! No ballads, no obscure B-sides, no “here’s one off the new album”, the audience wanted the hits and that’s exactly what we got, delivered with an effortless gusto which put many bands half their age to shame. Their voices sounding as good as ever.
The chemistry between the band is unmistakable, and infectious. They come across as really cool, genuine people who you’d love to hang out with if you got the chance!
It was a faultless performance, and the crowd absolutely loved it, even at the back, people were having a boogie in their seats!
My only complaint was that the 90s minutes went far too quickly, and they won’t be back next year 🙁 but I wish the band a very happy retirement, and thank them for the brilliant memories!
I feel privileged to have been able to attend this very special show, it made the trip through to Manchester on a weeknight (taking my chances with Northern Rail) more than worth it.
Walking back to Piccadilly the party atmosphere continued as the audience excitedly discussed what they had just witnessed.
I suspect nobody in attendance will forget this show in a hurry!
Words + Pictures by John W. King
Photos taken with a pocket camera from the audience to comply with venues terms and conditions, so may not be up to usual DSLR standard.