09-08-2008 London, England @ Astoria 2

Setlist:
2×4
I Wonder
Soup
For My Friends
Toes Across The Floor
Sleepyhouse
Soak The Sin
Drive
Wishing Well
Change
Mouthfull Of Cavities
Time
Hypnotized
Skinned
Paper Scratcher
No Rain
Galaxie
Encore:
The Pusher

Pictures below by Barbara Milavec and Lee

Picture by Barbara Milavec

Picture by Barbara Milavec

Picture by Barbara Milavec

Picture by Barbara Milavec

Picture by Lee

Picture by Lee

Picture by Lee

Picture by Lee


Pictures and gig review by Baz Francis:

For someone who fell in love with Blind Melon 9 days after they apparently disbanded officially in 1999, with the obvious absence of the late great Shannon Hoon I never thought I’d have the chance to say I’d seen the band live without being or at least feeling like a fraud. On Monday, 8th September 2008 however that all changed when I caught the marvellous reincarnation of all things Melon at London’s LA2. It was a close call that I heard about the gig as information about the show was scarce, even on these shores, and it was only because I thought that they must be due over here by now that I went out of my way to check the band’s movements what would turn out to be six days before they played their only UK show of their current European tour (which itself was only three dates long).

Photo by Baz Francis

I broke the habit of a lifetime and was early for once in my life as this was one gig I had to savour in all it’s glory. The band did not disappoint either. This was the venue where Blind Melon had done their last concert on British soil with Shannon Hoon nearly 13 years (to the day) earlier, and Travis T. Warren stepped up for the job of replacing the irreplaceable with the most impressive quality any die-hard Melonhead could ask for in a new front man for their favourite group. The new album For My Friends had already proven itself as a great addition to the Blind Melon legacy on plastic, and Warren did not let the standard slip on his live performances of the new or the old tunes either.

Photo by Baz Francis

The band played the set out just right, an eclectic mix of songs from all four of their records, and as good as the new LP is, they didn’t turn this gig into a showcase for that particular album, but instead let the evening be a celebration of their entire catalogue so far. The first stand-out song of the evening for me was the beautiful Soup, with Brad Smith’s bass sounding epic and masterful alongside the sublime high range vocals coming from his left. It wasn’t long before the guys launched into the equally powerful classic Sleepyhouse (with which my only problem was the volume at which it was played, as I was close to the speakers and some of the song’s subtleties were lost in the loudness) and the gig just read like a roll call of fellow master works throughout the evening in between these sort of favourites. I’ve never been a fan of Time, but as it’s always been such a key part of the Blind Melon live repertoire, this one exception to my extensive dream set list was not unwelcome tonight for it’s significance and singalong factor.

Although I was happy to let one lesser song (in my opinion) slip by, there was no time to lose sight of what a great band Blind Melon were and still remain as they ploughed straight into newie Hypnotized, a song that made me cry the first time I heard it on the album and was altogether even more impressive tonight as Christopher Thorn decorated it with the sweet tones of a baby piano. Shortly afterwards they played the formality of No Rain, which although came close to being the band’s albatross a decade and a half ago, still remains a sublime pop song and something synonymous with the summer season that was by this point coming to an end in England. As the band brought the show to an end with an electric version of the Steppenwolf tune The Pusher, several hundred people including myself were aware that they had not just seen a fine tribute to a great band that once was, but also a top show from a superb band who will hopefully continue to be for another 13 years and more to come.

Photo by Baz Francis

Tour dates

Aug 28: Seattle, WA
Aug 29: Portland, OR
Aug 31: Petaluma, CA
Sept 1: San Fran., CA
Sept 2: Sacramento, CA
Sept 3: Sparks, NV
Sept 5: San Luis O., CA
Sept 7: Hermosa B., CA
Sept 8: Ventura,CA
Sept 9: Pomoma, CA

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