One of the best gigs of my life, hands down. Everytime I’ve seen them has been special for a reason and it’s too hard to pick which one was best. I remember me and my mate playing this album all the time. It coincided with me getting my first set of decks and then starting to get serious about DJing. I was completely immersed in house music at this point. Completely.
I’d just started a music production course at the local college and had no job so funds were tight. We got our bursary paid every fortnight though and luckily got paid it the day of the gig. We got the bus through to Glasgow, getting proceedings started as soon as we sat down, obviously. We were staying at a mate’s in Glasgow and having got a taxi to his flat, succeeded in persuading him to come along and get a ticket outside from a tout, which he did for £30. Let’s face it, a bargain.
As far as I remember the UK tour had two different supports depending on which gig you were at. Basement Jaxx were supporting on some and Roger Sanchez on others. We had the S-Man which I was pleased about. I’d seen him before but not Basement Jaxx so would have been pretty much as happy with them however. Roger Sanchez blew our socks off. Only tune I can remember him playing was “Back” by S-Men. His whole set was just astounding though. He was at his peak around this time I’d venture. As warm-up sets go it’s up there with the best but the best was yet to come.
Now unfortunately I don’t remember a great amount of detail about Daft Punk’s set but I’m sure you can imagine it. Most of “Homework” got an airing, along with b-sides and remixes. I think they may well have started with “Musique”, other than that I’m not sure what was played when. They had a giant video screen behind them with amazing visuals, particularly during “Teachers” when images of Bob Marley, John Lennon etc. were relayed to the crowd. It being October 31st also I think there was some Halloween theme at some point. Might be wrong about that. It was a long time ago. Their set was thumping. If you listen to “Alive 97” recorded on the same tour at Birmingham you get a feel for the set. Quite different to the follow-up tour “Alive 2007”. Although 07 was a huge audio-visual experience, the raw exhilaration and on-the-fly production of 97 was missing.
Afterwards it was onto the afterparty. We tried to get into Slam at The Arches for the official afterparty where Roger Sanchez was DJing but got turned away a few feet away from the door because it was full. Gutted! We ended up in some indie club that was decent enough but you knew you were missing out. After that we went back to The Arches as the other guys from the flat we were staying at were there so we went to meet them. As it didn’t finish until 4am we had a little while to kill. Nipping up a little alleyway to have a slash we found what I can only imagine was a firedoor for The Arches. A fire door that was ajar. We silently looked at each other grinning like you wouldn’t believe. We walked in what we thought was casually but probably looked like we were carrying a bag marked “Swag”, fully expecting to feel a big hand on our shoulder at any point. But it never came. I think we walked in at the side of one of the bars but the crowd were just a few feet away. We got ourselves deep enough into the crowd to make sure we were safe and then jumped around like we’d just scored the winning goal in the World Cup. Just as we calmed down and started to throw some serious shapes the music was turned off and the lights went up. End of the night. Gutted for the second time! But what a thrill.
When we’d disappeared into The Arches we’d left our other mate outside. When we came out there was no sign of him and no sign of the flatmates either. This was pre-mobile phone era obviously. After a while we gave up and somehow ended up at a party where we met some people from our school back home. I assume this wasn’t coincidence but I have no idea how we got there. I didn’t know at the time either, that’s not just the passage of time.
Eventually we got back to my mate’s flat and our other mate got there around the same time. Thankfully he could remember where the flat was. He’d ended up at some random party. Par for the course. We spent the whole day slowly sinking into a pit of despair, waiting on a potential lift from one of the flatmates who eventually decided in the early evening he was going to stay for another night. The lure of avoiding public transport had been too much for us to go home earlier when we’d intended to so we’d wasted all day waiting on nothing. I was supposed to be going out that evening too. Hurriedly getting ourselves round to the local shop for some much needed Irn Bru before getting a bus into Glasgow City centre, the true scale of how much we had The Fear became quickly apparent. I remember being devastated the bus we got into town had no headrests and therefore we had nowhere to hide. This wasn’t going well. My mate who I’d come through to Glasgow with was from Paisley originally, on the west side of Glasgow, and he was going to see his parents instead of heading back to Fife. We said our goodbyes and he disappeared into the throng of the bus station patrons whilst I boarded my bus, safe in the knowledge I had the exact amount of money it had cost to get here. Except the driver said it was 20p more. Sensing impending doom I explained this to him. As he searched for the price list I looked around and my mate had gone. There was no sign of him. No chance of getting 20p off him then. The driver showed me his chart and he was right. The driver on the way through had obviously undercharged us. I was panicking by now. I could see I had the exact money to get to the town before my village but I’d have no money to phone anyone for a lift and it was a 6 mile walk. The driver took a look at me and told me just to get on it was ok. I nearly kissed him. I got the bus several times every day around this period of my life and none of them were ever this nice! Thankfully the bus wasn’t too busy and the bus had big headrests. I was safe. I was in the midst of The Fear but armed with my Walkman I was confident I was in a safe bubble. The journey home was event-free and needless to say I never made it out that night, although mainly because I didn’t get home until around 10pm after the day from hell. Worth it though.