|Alexandra Theatre - Birmingham||17 May 2003||by Matt Wharton|
As most of the other reviews tell you, the night begins with the vocalist swap. Then the stage lights dim and Tony comes on, Followed by Ant and Lee. Then Rick comes on (entire theatre erupts at this point) They start with journey and Ashley comes on shortly after Rick. There is always a stage gag going on so you get plenty of laughs. The next few songs were The Realisation/The Spaceman from No Earthly. Both performed brilliantly, then Cathy Parr came next I think. Then the first half ends with Out There from..... Out There! My personal opinion is that Ashley wasn't best at this; I think he sung it an octave too low. When Damian did it, he sung it higher and more powerfully, But it was still excellent. Then the interval, where we just go for a gypsies and find better, empty seats!!
The second half started with White Rock!! which was a wonderful surprise as I've only ever heard the first recording of it on.... White Rock! I really enjoyed that, all the modifications and all. White Rock ended with a long drum solo from Tony, where the rest of the band go for a break. You'd think a drum solo would get boring, But NO!!! It was very, very good. Next came Arthur and Sir Lancelot, Which were mind blowing! Ashley's powerful vocals on this send shivers down your spine! And Rick's playing was note perfect the whole was through the night. Next was Dance of a Thousand Lights (I think) where Rick does it Karaoke style, Very good song, but the people from my area of the theatre couldn't see him because 3 speakers where in the way, But I could see his head. (Phew)
I'm buggered if I can remember what was next... I'll remember when this review is sent... I think it was Cathedral of the Sky, which was absolutely mind blowing, I can't begin to say how good that was. (Important bit coming up..) There was a lady in the front row who was attractive, dressed up, young, and waving her arms around... (remember that) Next was Merlin the Magician.. And oh my god, My favourite song, Played in the greatest way I have ever heard it, it sent shivers down my spine the whole was through, Lee was enjoying the piano solo with Rick, jamming together, Then "The Keytar bit" came, where he went out into the audience. Now, photos where strictly prohibited, but at this point I didn't give a flying f...lea... Rick told this lady to budge up, plonked himself next to her and had a chat!! Then he got back up, came to the front and picked his woman to be his keyboard stand... Guess who it was!! He got her by the hand, lead her up to the stage and manoeuvred the Keytar onto her arms. And his strap was on his wrist, so a VERY fast move, a flick of the wrist and he'd got his hand back out and was playing again! And ended with the piano solo! Amazing!!!!!
Then the encore! Which was Starship Trooper and Wurm, chillingly good! Ant came into the audience for his guitar solo, very impressive! And while this was going on, Ashley caught my eye, playing this blow up guitar!! So Ant signalled to the audience and chased him off stage! Good laugh! He only came back and pretended to play Rick's other Moog!! So Rick lent over, and reached this blow up hammer, and walloped him a few times!! Good laugh!! And then Ash was throwing his tambourines 30ft in the air!! After missing twice and throwing it into the front row!!!! He caught one!! Very funny and the best night out I’ve ever had! After I had a good chat with Rick and plucked up the courage to ask him how tall he was after I had my photo! If anyone was wondering, He's 6ft 2 and a half, I want to thank Rick and the band for the best night I'll have till the next N.E.R.E gig I go to THANK YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You MUST see this show anyone who hasn't yet!! Thank you!