Live Music + Gig Reviews

T In The Park 2004, Day 1 @ Balado, Scotland

10 July 2004

Waking up the day after a long journey and an even longer session of various debauchery, it suddenly hit me – I had a full day of great live music ahead of me, beginning with those high-flying funksters, Black Eyed Peas.

Big Brovaz and Beta Band had been and gone on the main stage already, although, unfortunately, I was still sound asleep at that point. Despite being the middle of an overcast day, mini warm-up act Tippa Irie (as featured in the Hey Mama video) got everyone in the mood with an energetic freestyle that incorporated a lot of crowd interaction (perhaps too much for that time of day..). The Peas themselves were, of course, snazzily dressed and eager to please, pulling out top ten songs at the drop of a hat, occassionally breaking things up with some well-recieved break dancing. Hey Mama, Shut up, Hands Up, Let’s Get Retarded and finally Where Is The Love? featured in a strong set, and everyone was all too pleased to stare at Fergie for the best part of an hour.

Being the high-brow music connoisseur that I am, I opted for a nice cold tin of rice pudding rather than hang around for Pink‘s main stage set. I was reliably informed afterwards that she was pretty good, but I’m not about to lose any sleep over missing her. In fact, I returned to the arena for a quite fantastic Faithless performance, peppered with enough anthems to get even the most hungover people on their feet. God Is A DJ and Insomnia were greated with the biggest ovations of the day so far, with Jazz’s positive inter-song banter keeping smiles on everyone’s faces when the beats faded to black. We even got a sneaky peek at their new male vocalist LSK, who did a sterling job on some fresh acoustic material.

Before the end of the Faithless set I was dragged away to a nearby baguette stand, for what would turn out to be an expensive yet delicious snack. Whilst queueing I could hear the baby-faced, nice boys Keane from the NME Stage – they were banging out Bend And Break to a massive crowd. I couldn’t help but admire Keane’s enthusiasm, and it certainly seems to me that they’re filling the shoes made for them by rave reviews and grand predictions at the turn of the year. B-side Snowed Under sounded even better, and it was with some regret that I left the vicinity to catch the beginning of Ash‘s slot in the fabulously named King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent.

Under the dark canopy and into a pitch black void, I arrived just in time to see Tim Wheeler make a sensational entrance: With the crowd baying for blood and the temperature rising, a demonic Wheeler entered from stage right clutching a flaming guitar above his head. As the flame went out he hooked the very same guitar around his neck and embarked on a frantic set, jam-packed with classics and newer, heavier anthems. Girl From Mars set the cat amongst the pigeons (so to speak), and was quickly followed by the likes of Clones, Renegade Cavalcade, A Life Less Ordinary and forthcoming single Starcross’d. You would never have guessed they had arrived at T a mere 10 minutes before they wre due to start – it was most definitely a highlight of the weekend.

Emerging from the darkness into a grey and miserable day, I gingerly made my way to the Slam Tent to see Basement Jaxx. Unfortuntely, nobody was being allowed in due to capacity problems. From the sound emerging from the tent I don’t think it was Basement Jaxx anyway – I’m pretty sure they had swapped slots with Felix Da House Cat. With phenomenally loud bass pumping in my ears, I made the executive decision to catch Muse at the NME Stage, and their rock opera didn’t let me down. As far back as I was, they still blew me away with New Born, Bliss, Song For Absolution and the like. Matt Bellamy is prodigiously talented, and comes into his own more and more each year. Muse are, without doubt, one of Britain’s finest rock outfits.

Another half-hearted attempt was made to see Basement Jaxx, but, once again, access was denied. I wasn’t too bothered about The Darkness, either – it had already been a long (but enjoyable) day of music. Sauntering back to the campsite past the main stage, I overheard a beautiful rendition of Kenny Loggins‘ Top Gun theme seeping from Dan Hawkins’ guitar. With fireworks crying out and Tom Cruise dialogue running through my head, the day ended splendidly.

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