The Darkness – UK Cakes, fresh from the oven

Setting out on another tour is a strange and wondrous thing. And, if you’ve just remembered where the important things are hat should be in your bag, a bit annoying as well. It still feels odd to be off on a Darkness tour – brilliant, but odd in a wide eyed and still disbelieving way. Having a Darkness headline show all to ourselves is a something to be held to our collective breasts and cherished. There have been plenty of gigs, mind. Just none (two) of them here, and none (oh ok, TWO) just Darkness.

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball had the lion’s share of Summer and Autumn. I’m not a great fan of stadium gigs as I prefer to be in a dark place, with walls and floor and banging acoustics, not outside with wind dictated sound and even big screens looking like matchboxes, never mind the stage. Gaga views were restricted further by the extended stage walkways – made for a fabulous extravaganza with boundless energy and amazing dancing – but even from the (non monster pit) front barriers I saw all that on a screen. It was an amazing show. I fully endorse Gaga’s stand against prejudices and for the right to be who you are. But… The show will look better on DVD. I’m glad I went, but I ONLY went to see TD. Now, they rocked, from the view available. They did a solid, professional job, got the crowd on their side rocking and singing, and Justin dropped his trousers. They never underperform.

America, then, to fill in a few US gaps after Christmas. That’s where it got back to normal. Reports and videos show the wildest, rockiest shows yet. TD have never been a band to stand idly around, but they seem to have outdone themselves with more energy than ever. Justin hurling himself around and Dan coming to the fore have got people talking, and they love it. Is this new confidence? A conscious decision to kick ass harder? Or a natural reaction to crazy crowds? Maybe there’s a sense of ‘second chance, let’s go do it harder, faster, louder this time’ ? I can’t wait to see it, at last.

Will I, though? Tonight, I’m in Sheffield for the first gig. It’s seated. There will be no crowd surfing or balcony jumps. The crowd walk will be a little tricky. There will be SEATS. If I had known that before I’d bought my tickets I would have thought twice. I’d still have gone because it’s The Darkness, but for ME to even consider not going, unless I physically can’t, is a wrong state of affairs. It’s going to be a strange experience. I’m expecting great music, passion, superb playing, banter and silliness and the sense of being home. I’m also expecting the atmosphere to be a slight step away from the norm.

Oh, what the hell. They’re here. A TD gig is a thing of strange and unconventional beauty, so I shall gladly go and fill my soul with it. More later.

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