P+P's World Tour of Ireland 2023

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P+P's World Tour of Ireland 2023

Post by legspin »

Spoiler alert. There will be much talk of the tunes used. You have been warned

The set was pretty much the same all three nights so after the first gig around I will only mention the differences between the nights such as they were.

Ahh for feck's sake lads, did ye have to pick the same night as Bicep to play in Dublin. Ye should have checked with me first....

I got notice that P+P would be playing three dates here a few days before official news and I was slightly giddy about it all. My first thought when the dates were announced was a truly first world complaint however. Oh no, there are two bands I want to see on the same night, and on Paddy's Day as well. Oh no, call the UN...
Just as well that I was slow getting a ticket for Bicep then, P+P would now have to put up with me for three nights.
That wasn't the original plan though. When the gigs were first announced I only got tickets for Dublin and Belfast. The Limerick gig was just too much of an indulgence even though it would be the first chance I had had to be at the very start of a new album tour . Then however, my messenger got hacked and a load of spam went out to my entire contacts list. Phil made the mistake of answering it. I apologised profusely and told him not open it but it was already too late at the point. 'Never mind' he said, 'do you want a guestlist for any of the upcoming gigs'?
Does the pope shit in the woods?
Is a bear catholic?
One quick pm later and I have 3 in Limerick and an extra in Belfast. The man is a fucking ledge.

Cue 6 weeks of anticipation and anxiety, primarily due to me forgetting where I had put my Belfast ticket (a paper one no less and it had been put somewhere 'safe' as soon as it had arrived) and me then forgetting who I had booked the tix for Dublin with and somehow I had managed to delete the email confirming the purchase. All sorted in the end though.

Limerick, Dolan's Big Top. 16/3

My co-pilot for the upcoming adventure was the wonderful Stargurl, a long time collaborator on the various shenanigans I've got up to with P+P over the years, and we were going to be meeting up with some more of the OG Looperz on the way so fun was going to be had regardless. She had come over for the Cork gig last year and the opportunity for three gigs was just too much to resist (I'm sure you can understand the amount of arm twisting that took). She arrived early on the 16th for Limerick so the drive down was unhurried and quite relaxing. We were meeting my sister, who had been supposed to come with us to the Cork gig but had been ill and just wasn't up for it that night.
As you may be aware, the weather here in early Spring can be a unpredictable. Thus, I was a little surprised that the gig was not fully indoors but rather in a canopied yard, with gaps between the tent and the walls in places. As we were on the guest list, we were given wristbands and told we could use the balcony if we wanted. Got in a round and had a proper gander at the venue. Ohh look, new tee shirts. Long sleeve yellow squiggle? Yes please. Manami was already on and was just easing into her set so it was all fairly chilled. There was a quietly growing buzz about now so all was good.
"Umm Stargurl? Is that who I think it is up on the balcony?" We make our way up and yes, Paul is up there for a look himself. There was definite look of 'Oh fuck the loonies are here' on his face when he saw us but he chatted for a few minutes before he went backstage again. In fairness, approaching him before the start of the very first gig of a new album tour may have not been the best idea, coz he was much more relaxed when we saw him in Belfast two days later. Anyway...
Manami was beginning to crank it up with about fifteen minutes to go and the buzz was growing. Tbh I thought the music could have been a bit louder but I'm fairly sure the nature of the venue may have some noise regulation issues with the neighbours and is fairly heavily policed over the levels so everything was a little on the quiet side (more on this anon). The gig wasn't quite sold out but it was fairly close so it was intimate but comfortable. Just as well coz it wasn't the warmest. It had been a fairly clear and calm day so now evening was on us, whatever bit of heat there was in the air was well gone at this point. Heads were nodding and a few gentle shapes were being thrown at this point so there was a well deserved round of applause for Manami when she finished.
The change over was lightning fast. The interlude music on this tour turns out to birdsong which actually works quite well but we hardly got to hear any of it coz the screen started to flash and and a news report on kids on their way to a party started in the PA within five minutes. Faster flashing , repeat faster, repeat, I see torch specs....
The sample is of course the start of Smiley. The lads wave and boom we're on. No doubt, the start of a new album tour is fraught for both the band and the crew. the band hoping the new tunes work and both hoping for no technical fuck ups but it must be really stressful on the band, especially right at the start. How will the crowd react? Here, the crowd they say yes. A quick glance around and a sea of happy faces are all there. No one was going mad yet (I genuinely think the cold had something to do with that) but there is virtually no one who isn't enjoying it it already. Just after the first breakdown through there is a brief surge in the crowd and it suddenly becomes a lot more crowded near the front. Folk are getting into it now and there is a great round of applause as Smiley draws down. Think the lads are getting into it as well at this point
Quick hi from Phil and straight into Ringa Ringa. Right, onto the new album properly. It doesn't kick in with beat immediately like on the album but rather with the vocals and waits for maybe 20 seconds for kicking off properly. You can clearly seen the newness of the track as not everyone is on the groove straight away but it does warm up as we get into the tune. And with the track running on we are going to get our first mix through. Now, those of us who have followed the tours over that last ten years or so have gotten used to hearing WIIG at the end of a gig so when it hit Stargurl turned to me and said 'time to go home'...
Nope. Now the crowd are well on. Sometimes a change really is a good as a rest coz I had got quite bored with this tune. Sticking it on so early has refreshed it considerably as it works in the new slot. And especially what follows it.
Dirty Rat hits with a brick in the teeth. As I have said elsewhere, I was not expecting to like this at all but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be when I first heard it on the album. In this set here and now though it is absolutely banging. Still not mad keen on The Sleaford Mods but there is a visceral quality to the lyrics that is undeniable and has obviously struck a nerve coz I can hear others shouting along with Mr Williamson and loving it. As am I.
Satan is as Satan does. Almost thirty years of listening to it live and it still is as brilliant today. Except...
There is no Demand for an Audience. I at first thought it had just got lost in the mix somewhere but it wasn't there in Dublin or Belfast either. WTF am I going deaf or something? However, after talking to their Foh sound man (whose name I knew from working with him at earlier gigs but embarrassingly I have now forgotten) after the Belfast gig he told me that it's not there at all in the version on this tour. Ah well next time maybe. Ohh it's slowing down? Nah fooled ya. One warp speed jungle mix later and we are into Requiem. Cracking mix there lads. Not stopping even for breath we race though it and it is all wonderful. Lots of bouncing heads around me now. One of my favourite tracks on the album.
What the fuck is Phil doing on that of the riser? And why is Paul over there? Something I have never seen at an Orbital gig is happening here now. Phil is in control of all the buttons and Paul is on the 303. Ahh right we now have our first ever Phil tune in You are the Frequency. You can tell Phil's a bit nervy but once it starts he settles. It goes down well enough but I think a bit more work on a mix in or out would be nice. Not sure I've ever heard a stand alone tune at a P+P gig before. Not sure it works either. Yes I know they are swapping over their jobs but even still it seems a little disjointed and awkward. Nowt wrong with the tune (wouldn't have been my choice for a gig but..) as it went over well enough. Yet to be convinced otherwise though.
Normality re-occurs and everyone is back where they should be. We are eased into the start of Home and the gentle bouncing starts again. Nice enough tune but not sure it will be a regular gig tune in years to come. This is definitely a listen to at home tune for me but there is a sting in the tale here. It's winding down and I'm wondering what's next. Umm that beat sounds familiar....
Next moment Nothing Left pt2 lands as first real surprise of the gig and I can't help but laugh. Mentioning no names but someone had put up a hint of a spoiler earlier on fb when they half mentioned MoN around the sound check. Anything at all from it has been rare or non-existent from the last 15 years of tours (not since KWTR on the original comeback tour I think) so it was like an old friend dropping in unexpectedly after years away and falling right back in to the groove with you like they had never been away. This is fucking brilliant and when the drop happens I can only roar my approval. And everyone else as well by the sound of it.
Are You Alive is next after this wonderful blast form the past. After the euphoria of Nothing Left this feels a little flat tbh. Won't lie, much prefer the instrumental mix and you could lose the first half of that but it still works ok here. As always though it may just be the sheer newness of the tune that has me so reticent and I will be glad to be proved wrong.
Back to the oldies with Halcyon. Like Satan I really don't think I need to say much about it, it being the almost timeless classic it is. No Belinda (ok), no Bon Jovi (thank fuck) so Spicy is the new thing to fool around with. Look, it's just a bit of fun live and a good laugh when heard for the first time. Not everything has to be profound and be filled with deep meaning. Some things are frivolous and and throw-away but that is what makes them good. Spicy is just that. Enjoy it for the bit of fun it is and stop moaning how it's spoiling things. It mixes well into The New Abnormal though. This and Requiem are my faves off OD. Think it works well in the set but again the newness just doesn't allow for it to really grab you just yet.
Ahh now we're sucking diesel. Belfast may be named for somewhere that isn't (legally) part of this country (no I'm not going to get into that particular can of worms) but everyone here loves it nonetheless. The addition of the Molly Malone sample though does raise a few chuckles but also a few eyebrows. Outside of the Capital itself, Dublin is considered the ENEMY. The sample went down much better the following day in Dublin naturally. I don't care personally and I certainly don't expect the lads to pick up on the nuances of the local rivalries, so it did get a small chuckle from me. As Belfast winds down Chime strikes and we are back off on our journey again. To think this is almost old enough to become President of Ireland but it never loses it's freshness. Leading into Impact we are now on the home straight. Everyone is dancing and happy to be so, so of course we want it to keep going. Thus, when it finished and P+P are reaching for the mic to thank us all there is already calls for more. This is about the most I've ever heard from the two of them at the one gig. As they are leaving the stage, Paul leans in and hits something so about ten seconds after they are off a drone starts... OTS in it's almost full glory, back for the first time since 2009. Last time it was the opener, here it is a wonderful encore and it just keeps going. Indeed it goes on for so long I'm no expecting anything else but the crowd are just baying for MORE. So to round of the evening and really put the tin hat on it we get Lush. Wasn't actually mentioned on the set list but we got it anyway. We're not worthy we're not worthy. The audience are still begging for more when it finishes but finish we must. Paul apologies at the end but he says they have nothing else to play. Good sign for a gig imo.

Met a few of the fb bordsies as well which is always nice, including the brave soul who had put up the semi-spoiler earlier. We chided him gently but even as he was telling us about it you could see it had been done through pure devilment and a smile. No harm no foul.

Have to talk briefly about the volume level here. Going back to what I said about the venue and where it is exactly, I understand why it wasn't as loud as it could be but it really needed a pair of mid-tops a side more. There was plenty of sub and bass but the top end was getting a little lost occasionally.

No aftershow here and perhaps just as well. By the time we've dropped my sister back to her hotel and we are on the road home it is almost 12. Just over two hours later we are home and already anticipating tomorrow.

Bugger, left the new tee shirt in my sister's bag....

Dublin, The National Stadium. 17/3

Paddy's Day in Ireland is a funny one. You'd think a nation noted for it's ability to party would be a bit better at it's national day celebrations. It certainly wouldn't be the fun it is these days if it weren't for the Yanks, who showed us it didn't have to be quite as depressing as we used to think but we still have a strange attitude to the day. My own theories on it revolve around the fact that it's held at a time of year when it's normally pissing with rain and bitter cynicism set in over that fact.
Stargurl was treated to her first provincial town Paddy's Day parade and I'm fairly sure she's still slightly stunned by the glitz and glamour of it all. And of course, it rained....

Catching up with a few of the OG looperz before the Dublin show (Walt'n'Brian) it was all myself and Stargurl could do to talk about Limerick and not spoil it. Also met a few more fb boardsies which is always nice. Pub was less than five mins from The Stadium so things were convivial by the time we got there. Afaik The National Stadium was the first purpose built boxing arena in Europe (possibly worldwide but not sure about that). I have never been to a gig there and haven't worked at a gig in the Stadium in over twenty years but I used to be involved in the boxing here so would have been in there for that on a regular basis, but that is now over thirty years ago. It was shithole then and it's not much better now but it is quite a good venue for shenanigans in that regard.
Manami was again already on when we went in but it was a good bit louder tonight. It being fully indoors also meant it was good bit warmer as well. Again not quite sold out but fairly close (turned out Bicep weren't sold out either so the two of them on the same night kinda stymied each other) and the crowd were already well hyped by the time Manami closed her set tonight. An even better one than the first night imo.
Slightly longer break tonight but still no more than just enough time to run to the loo. Am barely back when we stared all over again. Far heavier tonight already, this was far more like an old school P+P gig. Serious shapes are being thrown within a minute of the beat kicking in and we didn't stop for the next two hours. Almost...
The P+P Irish hex happened again. Not every gig but quite a few of theirs I've seen here have had a gremlin or two some time during. Never anywhere else. So when something went wrong somewhere on stage and we had a very brief but unwanted pause between Chime and Impact you could see Paul roll his eyes and shrug. Who said the luck of the Irish was always good? It was quickly sorted though.
If louder is better tonight was. And apart from the glitch everything else was just that little bit smoother as well. Phil seemed a bit more comfortable during frequency. Molly Malone got a big cheer as was to be expected but it was only afterwards Walt pointed it out to me that the lights had only been Green, White, and Orange for the entire gig. D'oh, talk about Mister Observant here. Mind you I have never been interested in the lighting side of my work (you don't listen to lights and if you do hear them something has gone a little awry) so not noticing them when at a gig isn't really that surprising but even I should have twigged that.
Maybe it's just me but both lads have been quite chatty on the mic at the end of the gigs. No objection, just a point of interest.

Walt 'n' Brian weren't up for the aftershow so your two intrepid ravers went in by ourselves. Hyde is not the sort of venue I would normally frequent and I don't think the venue would be too keen on me going there much either and I'm fairly sure that if I had turned up on any other night I would have been politely told sorry but no. But tonight I certainly wasn't the only one there like that. Conradical was on when we gained access and the place was already fairly full by then. I then started seeing a few heads I know over here that hadn't been to P+P but had been to Bicep (best of both worlds I suppose). Not going to say much about the entire thing other than it being a really good night. Phil did his Phil set but he was very good and there was a few P+P mixes that were unfamiliar to me but Conradical played both before and after Phil and was rather excellent.
But there was still work to be done and although we stayed as late as we could, there was the small matter of the following day to happen yet so we left about 20 mins before the end.

Biggest chuckle of the weekend happened about twenty minutes after we got into Hyde. Got tapped on the shoulder while waiting at the bar...
"Here, were you at Sasha a few weeks ago?"
"I was!?"
"Fuckin' hell I was right, I recognised the hat. And were you in Limerick last night?"
Ahh fuck we thought it was you but we weren't sure. You're a fuckin' legend. Were you at Bicep?"
"No I went to the Stadium tonight."
"To see them again?"
"Yeah, bit of a fan alright."
"Jaysus I thought I was a fan. How many times...?"
"Tonight was twenty nine I think".
"Really? Ahh fair fucks to you man."
"Ah cheers. Gonna see them tomorrow as well...."

Mentioned this to a mate who asked how things had gone.

"That's it, you're that guy now."

Slept that night....

Belfast, Mandela hall, 18/3

"Aha whataboutchi, welcome teh Norn Iron"
The last few years have seen me working far more often in Belfast than had been the case, and I habitually mutter that bit of doggerel to myself as I hit the border. Much to the chagrin of the DUP, who though Brexit would again cause a hard border on this island and cocoon them away from us Ignorant papists down south once more and most assuredly re-igniting the Troubles all over again in the process, thankfully sense was seen by the grown-ups elsewhere and the crossing is still only noted by the slight difference in the road markings and the sign that you should now use mph.
We got to Belfast just after six. We were meeting a few more OG looperz (Wendy and Tez, and LuciousLucy) who had come from Blighty for this gig just to hear Belfast in it's namesake. Also to stay in the Europa, the most bombed hotel in the world...
Now, both myself and Stargurl are fairly hardcore fans of P+P, having racked up over sixty Orbital shows between us over the years (according to my own slightly hazy recollections tonight will be my thirtieth P+P gig). However we both are only in the tuppence ha'penny seats compared to Wendy and Tez, who individually have more than the pair of us combined.
After a brief interlude in a local tavern, we took the short walk up the Malone road towards Queens University, where the venue is. Not one I've been in before. Certainly the most modern and the only built for this purpose so far. Tonight's support is Yushh and she must only have just gone on when we in coz it's quite quiet when when in. We espied Paul having another quick shuftie at proceedings in a corner, but this time he was far more relaxed when we went over and said hi.
Tonight was the first night that was sold out. And how. Tickets were worth their weight in saffron, never mind gold they were so difficult to get. We may have been some of the first in but by the time Yushh was closing yet another great support set the place was thronged and you could forget getting to the bar.
Also tonight, we had a proper PA system. Everything was crystal clear and properly loud. Gig wise the lads seemed quite happy with proceedings and the audience certainly had no complaints.
I had jokingly warned Paul in the brief chat beforehand that the Molly Malone sample may not be such a good idea up here and I was slightly afraid I had awoken a possible bit of mischief but any international incidents were avoided and she kept her barrow home that night.
Belfast in Belfast is just one of those musical moments anyone should experience. It gets a wonderful reaction everywhere but to those in the city it really is something special. Nearly everyone knows the story and those that don't still know the tune even if they wouldn't know who the band was. I have had the privilege of hearing it live five times now in this city and it is is still a hair on the back of the neck moment...
Have you ever started listening to a tune and you know instinctively that you're half a barre off being in time but no matter how hard you try to shift it your head it won't realign properly until the beat kicks in. That was the start of Lush tonight. This was the only noteworthy mistiming or out of sync moment of the entire weekend and it was the very last tune, but was also quite funny to see the lads trying to get it back in sync again. Phil had been quite energetic this evening and I think a few shandies may have been had. It was also the end of a fairly hectic few days for them and tbh I was beginning to feel it as well. There was some sort of aftershow but I didn't enquire too closely coz there was still a drive to be had. The walk back to the city centre was far shorter it seemed that the way out. Thus all too soon we were saying our goodbyes and myself and Stargurl were back on the road to the Republic

Cheers lads for a fucking great weekend.

There are three special ladies I'd like to thank especially for the last weekend coz it wouldn't have happened without them
Stargurl. Keep on Rocking My Darling and thank you so much for your company.
My baby Sister. Woot Woot Auntie Jelly
And most importantly the woman who has to put up with me and my 'hobbies' when there's no one else around, which proves she really does love me.

E. &O.E.
Be Pure, Be Vigilant, BEHAVE.
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Re: P+P's World Tour of Ireland 2023

Post by stargurl »

What an epic review (of an epic adventure)!
It was an honour to be a part of it.
Looking forward to collaborating on more shenanigans soon!
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