Oh, where to begin?
Ever since I first watched the You Tube videos of Bofest 2009 and Moscot 2014, I’ve held a secret hope of one day experiencing a solo acoustic Myles Kennedy show. It always seemed to be one of these bucket list dreams that would remain only that until last November when the Year Of The Tiger tour was announced.
On Saturday evening (well, during the afternoon too) that dream finally came true.
After a 4am start, I found myself in Birmingham City Centre by 9am – ever so slightly lost. With a little bit of Googling and eventually surrendering and asking a friendly human, I found my hotel, arranged to check in early (midday) then went for a wander.
After a much needed coffee and more Googling, I had figured out the way from the hotel to the venue so I could relax a bit. With nothing else to do, I went shopping, on a mission to purchase a woolly scarf as it was beyond freezing outside.
Shopped out and frozen (it was snowing), I headed the hotel for a couple of hours to thaw out.
By 2.30 I was outside the O2 Institute waiting in line for the meet and greet and, yes, it was still snowing. A long queue of fans resembling snowmen lined the pavement! This is where the power of social media comes into its own as members of the “Army of 12” (look it up on Facebook if you don’t know what it is) gathered. Cue hugs and hellos and for a few finally face to face meetings with new friends. Every time there are more and more familiar faces. It really is like an international family gathering.
Things were running way behind schedule but at least we were allowed in out of the elements. Eventually, as the clock approached 5pm, we were ushered into the room to hear the latter part of sound check.
One of the main bucket list/dream list items was to hear Myles playing his resonator. That dream came true the second we stepped inside the door. Immediately there was a relaxed atmosphere in the room and Myles chatted amiably with the fans. He seemed genuinely amazed to see so many there for the meet and greet (roughly 20% of the audience were there). He joked about just starting the show and playing for hours. If he had, no one would have objected! We did enjoy a rare treat as, on request, Myles played a little section of Lover. Beautiful.
At the end of sound check, Myles opened things up for questions for a few minutes. Some of the answers required a little “busking” and among the things we were treated to was a snatch of “Fly Me To The Moon.” All good fun.
Signing and photos completed, we were all reluctantly ushered back out into the cold at 6.20pm…and, yes, you’ve guessed it – it was snowing!
Shortly after 7pm we were allowed back indoors. The immediate warmth was divine!
There was only one support act for the evening – Holiday Oscar. He appeared on stage at 7.30pm, almost immediately blew his amp and scared the hell out of us with the BANG and continued to be plagued by technical problems throughout his thirty minute set. It was a pity for him but it also secured the sympathy vote from the crowd. A mix of stand up patter merchant and songwriter, Holiday Oscar is a bit of an enigma. (Think male Victoria Wood) He did sing one humorous song about Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un…
and moving swiftly on…..
After an overdose of Johnny Cash, (they must have picked the man in black’s most mournful songs for the PA!) a hush fell over the capacity crowd. From the side of the stage, largely out of sight of the crowd, Myles began to play Devil On The Wall. He was welcomed on stage a few seconds later by a huge warm cheer.
Right from the off, Myles looked relaxed and at home on the small stage. He followed the opening song with a trio that spanned his career- Standing In The Sun, Before Tomorrow Comes and the fabulous Eden (another one ticked off the dream list) I love that song!
For Haunted By Design, Myles was joined on stage by Tim Tournier, a real Jack-of-all-trades (manager/guitar tech/musician/friend). This is one of my favourite songs from Year Of The Tiger and the capacity crowd lapped it up!
By now Myles had shed his blue velveteen jacket and was sporting his “flannel” shirt (it’s tartan, Myles!) This were heating up both on stage and in the audience. We’d gone from sub-zero outside temperatures to a tropical heatwave indoors! Hot hot hot!!!
The stunning Starlight followed, then a fantastic version of Alter Bridge’s All Ends Well (Alter Bridge have never played this one live)
I’m not a big Led Zeppelin fan (sorry, Myles) but even I could appreciate the cover of Going To California and the passion that Myles poured into it.
The powerfully emotional Blind Faith followed. I adore the tone of that resonator and those lyrics…wow! Myles had the entire audience held in awe. Stunning!
How to follow that? Well Lyla, again from the Mayfield Four days, did the honours (and added another tick to the list)
The final tick was added to the list two songs later. Temperatures had risen even higher! The flannel (tartan) shirt had been discarded and the fans were treated to a “stripped off” rendition of Travelling Riverside Blues. Eargasmic! This was smoothly transitioned into an incredible acoustic arrangement of World On Fire.
Rise Today and title track, Year Of The Tiger, rounded off the main body of the eighteen song set.
After a brief (very brief) pause, Myles returned to play a two song encore. He began this by playing a cover of the Elton John song, Levon. The crowd didn’t know it so Myles’ attempt to get them to sing along fell a little flat. Poor guy seemed genuinely stunned that the Birmingham crowd weren’t familiar with it. I felt a little guilty, I must admit. (Myles, it was never released as a single in the UK back in 1971- sorry)
Tim was welcomed back on stage to assist with the final song of the night. After displaying his guitar playing prowess while Myles fought to bring his own back into tune, they rounded out the evening with Cry Of Achilles. Great song to end on.
If I had to sum up the whole show in one word it would be “magical”.
This show really was filled with the stuff dreams are made of. Can’t wait to do it all again in Glasgow on Tuesday.