As I mentioned in my previous post about Wet Wet Wet and their show at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on March 4th, I am a huge Wets fan and have been right since they first hit the charts back in 1987. Since then their music has been a massive part of my life and seen me through thick and thin. I can remember exactly where and when I bought each new Wet Wet Wet album and the excitement I felt when I finally got home and was able to play them. Buying “Holding Back The River” back in 1989 was particularly memorable as my Dad had bought our first CD player. It was a six disc stacking one with a cartridge and he let me and my brother choose a CD each to play on it. I can’t remember what my brother chose but I chose “Holding Back The River”. That CD has now worn out and I’ve replaced it but the feelings from hearing that music have definitely not worn out.
A week after watching Wet Wet Wet play live at Leeds First Direct Arena I was back with my friends for a second helping of “The Big Picture Tour” but this time in Newcastle. Once is never enough and we were ready for our #wetsroadtrip part 2! .
So it was a massive shock to us to find messages on social media two days before the Newcastle show that the Cardiff show had had to be cancelled due to Marti Pellow being ill. He had gone down with a nasty chest infection. As anyone knows when you have a chest infection it completely wipes you out, not only with the lack of energy but you lose your voice. I know this from first hand experience being a teacher, when your voice goes you can’t do your job properly. You have to be one hundred percent on top form. We weren’t sure whether the gig at Newcastle would go ahead, would Marti be well enough to perform?
No news was good news so I set off first to collect my friend Dot and then headed north to pick up our other friend Julie. We love our #wetsroadtrips and my iPod was ready loaded up with my Wets, Marti Pellow and Graeme Clark playlists to play on the car stereo. We had booked to stay overnight in a hotel on the riverside but when we checked in I realised I’d booked us in the wrong hotel. There are two Jurys Inns in Newcastle and I’d chosen the wrong one, typical! The one we were in was near the SAGE, not the Metro Arena so we would have a long walk along the quayside. Still, it was a beautiful day and perfect for a walk even in my beloved heels!
Later on, back at the arena we went and took selfies to post on Twitter using the #wetsfans hashtag hoping that they might end up behind the band on the big screen again like we did before in Leeds. Sadly as I’d booked separately from my friends I wasn’t sat with them and the view I had wasn’t as good as the one I had had in Leeds. I was on the same row, Row D but the people stood in front of me were so tall! I’m so glad I was in heels, if not I couldn’t see over the top of the people in front of me!
Even though I knew what was to come having seen the gig in Leeds before the excitement was still the same. I remember my Mum saying to me “Why are you going to see them twice? It’s the same show!” Oh Mum, you don’t understand there are aspects to a show that are the same but even sitting in a different place gives you a different perspective on the show. As with all live shows nothing is the same twice and performers react differently to different audiences . The butterflies were still going in my tummy!
The Wets opened with their upbeat track “East Of The River” from their debut album “Popped In Souled Out” which is always a popular addition to their set and the audience were already in the mood for dancing and singing along. Marti’s voice sounded as great as ever and we were soon able to help him out with a mini singalong session through a medley of their hits, “Goodnight Girl”, “Angeleyes”, “Temptation” and “With A Little Help From My Friends”. Even though Marti had been suffering, he was ever the professional. Though we were more than happy to help him out. As with the Leeds gig I went to, we got to shout out the four letter word that comes in one version of “Temptation”. It felt very liberating shouting out the f word, though I would have been embarrassed doing it if my Mum had been next to me in the audience!
Other favourites included the Roy Orbison inspired “All I Want” from 2004 and their upbeat “Run” from their “Timeless” album. These are always popular with the crowds and get people singing and dancing along.
It was great to hear “Love Wars”, one of the new songs that had been recorded last summer in the South of France. Even though it would be unfamiliar to people who had not been to any of the other dates on the tour, people were soon dancing and clapping along in time to the music.
With the tour coinciding with the 20th anniversary of “Picture This”, Wet Wet Wet’s multi million selling album it was very fitting that the set included tour favourites “Don’t Want To Forgive Me Now”, “Julia Says” and “Somewhere, Somehow”. It was fantastic to hear “She’s All On My Mind” which highlights the amazing saxophone solo introduction from Leo Green and also “Morning,”
There is always a lot of cheerful banter at a Wets gig between Marti and the audience. At some gigs I’ve been to in the past Marti has been known to shout out “You’re such a lovely audience, I’d like to take you home with me!” Of course there’s lots of cheering comments like “Yes please!” Tonight at Newcastle though, I heard a woman shout out “Marti, get your kit off!” Maybe something to do with the amount of alcohol being sold. I couldn’t believe there was someone selling wine by the bottle like an ice cream seller at the theatre. I like a drink but not enough to spoil the show for others with my behaviour. I like to cheer and scream but it’s to show appreciation for the band, not to be rude and cheeky or embarrassing.
Another part of the show is a three song acoustic set where Marti is joined by Graeme Clark and Graeme Duffin with their guitars. They played the brilliant “Roll ‘Um Easy” which came along with a hilarious anecdote about being filmed in a rowing boat on Loch Lomond for a documentary. It was referred to as Loch Lomondo by the American producer and Marti and Graeme C were filmed singing and playing “Roll ‘Um Easy” in a rowing boat in the middle of the loch. They had mega hangovers and were wearing Versace suits. Nowadays with Health and Safety gone mad they would probably be seen wearing high-visability life jackets! The second song of the acoustic set was “Gypsy Girl” from “Picture This” which is always popular with the audience who join in with the la la las in the chorus. Finally the trio played “May You Never” a song I hadn’t heard the Wets play in a long while.
Highlights for me at a Wets gig are when they play “Somewhere Somehow” and “I Can Give You Everything”. The latter song never fails to make me want to dance. It ends up on my housework playlist at home so I feel in the mood for doing chores.
We were over the moon again to be featured three times on the big screen behind the band as they played “She’s All On My Mind” when our #wetsfans tweets appeared!
As they say all good things have to come to an end and the encore came in the form of “Lip Service.” As Marti sang about the roof being on fire, I felt along with others as if it really was on fire, the atmosphere in that arena was electric, just like it had been the previous week in Leeds. The Wets finished off with their mega hit “Love Is All Around”. I love “Love Is All Around” but it’s not my favourite Wets song. But if they didn’t include it in their show, it wouldn’t seem right somehow. It has been a part of the band’s history. The reception that the audience gave once again showed that love really is all around for these guys who have brought such happiness and amazing memories to us for the past 30 years.
Lots of us Wets fans are looking forward to a trip down to London in June when Wet Wet Wet will be playing at The Royal Hospital in Chelsea. Another #wetsroadtrip to look forward to and to create lots more memories. We are all on countdown!
Once again I would love to thank my friends Dot and Joyce who always take lovely pictures of the guys in the band whereas I am no photographer. I’d better get some practice in!