Saturday, June 30, 2012

Unexpected second chance

I'm going to tell you a story today.  It's the one I pull out whenever someone asks me to describe a huge disappointment.

It happened a long time ago, in 1991.  I was seventeen.  I had just moved to London after leaving school in New Zealand.  As you know, I'm a huge music fan, and back then I was probably even more  fanatical about the bands I love than I am now.

So London was like a gigantic adventure playground for me.  Every day I could open the local paper, Time Out or gig guide and find ten bands I'd love to see play live.  Bands that would never even consider coming to New Zealand, and if they did, it would probably cost about $80 to go.  And here they were, playing for 7, 9, 10 pounds.

I went a little crazy that year.  I went to gigs almost every week and spent every spare cent I had in the wonderful underground record stores I discovered in back streets and alleys.  I saw Mudhoney, The Cramps, NIN, Wolfgang Press, The Ramones, supported by The Damned, Lush and so many more I've forgotten now.  It was awesome!

But this story is about the one that wasn't so awesome.

It was not long after I arrived in London and I saw in a gig guide that one of my all time favorite bands, Crime and the City Solution, were playing at a place called the Powerhaus.  I was SO excited!  I convinced my two new friends, Tony and Spencer to come with me.  They hadn't heard of the band, but we'd become friends based on our mutual admiration of each others musical tastes, so they trusted me that they were good.

We took the Tube up to this place and joined a long queue of people waiting to get in.  I was a little surprised at the number of people queueing.  I mean, this is a band that no one has ever heard of when I mention them. So we queued.  And waited.  And it was cold.  The line started moving and my excitement grew.  People filed in and the queue moved up.  Finally there was only one person in front of us.  I was practically leaping out of my skin, I was so excited.  The person in front of us went in.  I stepped forward with my money.

And the guy on the door said the venue was full.

He wouldn't let us in.  I begged and pleaded. I said I'd come all the way from NZ to see Crime.  He wouldn't let us in.  Tony and Spencer asked if I could go in on my own.  I mean, I'm 5"1 and in those days weighed about as much as a flea.  I wouldn't take a lot of space.


He wasn't going to let us in.  Or me.  I had to suck it up.

I was so disappointed I cried.  And cried.  Tony and Spencer tried to comfort me, reminding me I was in London and there would probably be another opportunity to see them very soon.  Multiple opportunities.  And I took a little comfort from that.  They were right.  I wasn't in New Zealand anymore.  There would be other chances.

But you know what?  There wasn't.

I don't know if that was the absolute last ever show Crime and the City Solution played, but they never played again in London in the time I was there.  I never got the chance to see them and it has remained one of the greatest disappointments of my life.

Until now....  You see, recently I discovered that Crime and the City Solution have reformed.  They've just finished recording a new album and have been raising money for a tour (you can help here, if you feel so inclined.) and what's even more exciting, the tour is going to include New Zealand.

I'm excited!  But I know I may end up disappointed, so I'm not going to get TOO excited this time.  But what an awesome second chance.

Has anything like this ever happened to you?


  1. Although certainly not one of my biggest disappointments, I had one that was rather the opposite of yours. I saw Queen in concert in Boston in 79 or 80, and Freddy Mercury didn't sound nearly as good live as on the albums. Brian May is still my favorite guitarist to this day though.

    1. Wow! You saw Queen? That's amazing! But so often they don't sound as good live. No studio magic, I guess. I lived really close to Freddy Mercury in London and I'll never forget the day he died. There were so many people crowding around his house and until then, I didn't even know he lived there.

  2. I hope everything works out for you this time. That's great that the band has gotten back together and you get a second chance to see them.