Friday, 9 March 2012

The Tourists Edinburgh 1980

Tourists Luminous Basement Tour 1980
22nd of September 1980

Edinburgh Odeon

It was a rare occurrence indeed when Wife and I’s musical tastes achieved complete congruence – it is, after all I suppose, a rare woman who enjoys The Velvet Underground, King Crimson and Bach.  But one such alignment of Jupiter with Mars occurred back in 1980, when we both agreed The Tourists really were just a bit darned special.  The band’s first album, although a touch patchy, had been a great favourite, whilst the marvellous second just cemented their place in our respective hearts.

So, I was more than a touch pleased with myself, when I managed to get hold of front row tickets for the Tourist’s Edinburgh stop on the Luminous Basement Tour.  Although, in reality (effect), it perhaps turned out not to be quite the prize I had anticipated.

To explain: when you sit in the front row at a gig, you cannot (duh, obviously) see anyone behind you.  And only those folks in the seats close to yours appear in your peripheral vision.  Sitting in the front row is therefore a very exposed place, and one feels at times almost as much on display as those on stage…….well, perhaps not quite, but I hope you see what I mean.  At times I felt disconcertingly sure Annie was looking straight at me when performing, somehow willing me to get up and dance or at least take the lead in somehow geeing up the audience.  It all felt just a wee bit unnerving.  But I suppose this perhaps says more about me, than about front row seating.  I guess I am just not a Front Row kind of guy.

Someone who very clearly was however, was Jeremy Gluck – lead singer with support band The Barracudas.  Gluck, along with his buddies, apparently still on an adrenaline high following their recent hit single Summer Fun (Baba Rara Cucu Dada!!), cavorted around on stage soaking up their 15 minutes of fame.  Indeed, during the intro to another of the band’s singles His Last Summer, he furiously and unselfconsciously flirted with a couple of gigglingly coquettish teenies in the seats next to ours.  Now I am not suggesting for one minute, that this was some sort of Pop Star/Groupie hook-up thing going on here, but it did feel uncomfortably like being an unwilling voyeur during the early stages of foreplay.

And so to The Tourists, who were as excellent as when we had seen them just seven months earlier.  Even the new songs sounded strong:  So You Want To Go Away, Angels and Demons, I’m Going to Change My Mind, Don’t Say I Told You So.

There was no confetti cannon this time around, but instead during Walls and Foundations a dancer performed behind the band; the lighting showing her only in silhouette.  It reminded me, at the time, of the girl in the closing credits sequence to the Tales of the Unexpected TV series.

The Luminous Basement album despite, in my view anyway, being as strong as its predecessor failed to make any real dent in the album charts, and the band folded later that year amid tales of Peet Coombes’ failing health, managerial problems and the olde fave, musical differences.

Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, as we all know, went on to form the vastly more-lucrative, but infinitely less-loveable Eurythmics, leaving the other band members to drift into obscurity.  I was saddened to learn, that Coombes had died back in 1997, following years of battling drug and alcohol addiction: hopefully not the loneliest man in the world. 

RIP Peet.  


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