Ocean Colour Scene made a long awaited return to Belfast, their first gig in the city since March 2010, to perform their breakthrough album Moseley Shoals in it’s entirety to commemorate the 20th anniversary of it’s release.
I know, i’ve done the maths, recaulculated it and checked my working out, but 1996 was 20 years ago. I’m as shocked as you are.
Album Anniversary Tours is a practice i’m not really a fan of, I think it’s a bit of a nonsense. I like going to gigs and not knowing what is going to be played, hoping to hear my favourite songs and even being disappointed if the band doesn’t play a song I want them to play. It’s a bit boring if you know what is going to be played and in what order.
However, knowing that I would be guaranteed to hear The Riverboat Song, The Day We Caught The Train and The Circle made it worth the admission fee.
There was no support act, just a unseen DJ blasting out 90s Hits, to get the crowd in the mood, as the band entered the stage playing a cover of Daytripper by The Beatles, before moving onto the songs from Moseley Shoals, the opening track being The Riverboat Song, with it’s distinctive guitar riff.
The crowd knew every word, Simon Fowler even taking a step back to let them sing one of the verses.
There was a notable absence on stage in the shape of Oscar Harrison, who was suffering from back problems. He missed their recent Spanish shows, and it was anticipated that the Belfast gig would be his comeback.
Unfortunately, it was too soon for him,
It wasn’t the first time he’s had to miss a Belfast gig due to a back injury. I’m going to bore you with an anecdote about the time I met 50% of Ocean Colour Scene and 20% of Oasis.
In late 2001, I was working part-time in a bar in Belfast City Centre. One Wednesday night, I walked past a man who looked like Damon Minchella from Ocean Colour Scene and thought nothing of it. Then, I saw Steve Craddock, and it turned out it actually was Steve and Damon from Ocean Colour Scene.
They had just come from Blackstaff Studios where they had filmed a performance for The John Daly Show. Simon wasn’t there and neither was Oscar. He was replaced by Alan White from Oasis. I met him, Steve and Damon and was chatting to them.
Obviously I end up disappointing people when I tell them that i’ve met somebody from Oasis and it turns out not to be a Gallagher.
Simon told the crowd that Oscar said hi.
He wasn’t the only member of the band who has missed giggs through illness, as Ray Meade, now Bassist as Damon Minchella has since left the band, missed some gigs due to a Collapsed Lung, and this was his comeback.
Having had the spotlights put on the crowd, Simon told the crowd they are beautiful, before adding that they were not as beautiful as the Spanish, with the band having come to Belfast after gigs in Madrid, Barcelona and Zaragoza.
Tony Coote was the Drummer filling in for Oscar, described by Simon as a “Genius” due to learning the setlist inside 45 minutes, though there was one song where Steve Craddock was made hand gestures at him to indicate how he should be holding the drum sticks.
Surprisingly, as a former journalist, Simon Fowler let slip a bit of an exclusive by revealing that Boy George had recorded a duet for Paul Weller’s new album, before then sheepishly and apologetically looking to his bandmate Steve Craddock for letting the info slip.
For those who don’t know, Steve Craddock divides his time between Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller’s backing band, so he would obviously be a good source of information for Paul Weller related news.
There were a few ringers on the set list, including some hits from their follow up album Marchin Already, such as Better Day and Hundred Mile High City.
Better Day is a forgotten classic and my favourite OCS song, so I especially enjoyed getting to hear this live.
We even got treated to Profit In Peaces, as in, it was actually on the setlist and not an impromptu performance like at their last Belfast gig, because a fight had broken out in the middle of the floor while they were performing another song.
The only downside was the sheer volume of smelly tramps in the venue, constantly having to hold my nose to avoid breathing in vapes. Someone needs to tell these cunts that it’s not a competition to see how much and how far you can puff out.
It’s bad enough these cunts ruining outdoor concerts for everyone, now they are determined to ruin indoor concerts for everyone now.
I couldn’t help wonder if Better Day and Hundred Mile High City were a teaser for a 20th anniversary tour for Marchin Already, which was released in 1997.
Though this is Belfast, and with a title like that, there would probably be a resident’s group to protest it.
Just don’t leave it nearly seven years before returning.