Well, having took a day off to facilitate my journey to Liverpool, it still took my over an hour to get to the city centre, but I suppose that means it's a good job that I didn't set off after work as I usually would. A couple of pints of Guinness and a look at the photo's from The Like concert later and we were on our way to a "nice little Cuban restaurant." A few minutes later we were making our way out of the said Cuban restaurant, which was ram-packed, and off to Liverpool's China town, which lets face it, is more of half a China street. But hey, any time crispy auromatic duck is on the menu you won't find me complaining.
Anyways, off to the venue it was, and my first visit to the Liverpool Academy 2 (and thus completeing the holy trinity) stopping only for a quick drink in a pub near the venue that I'd never noticed before with the hilarity of seeing a Wigan Athletic match advertised by the use of the phrase "dirty Wigan" and a picture of a turd! :D
Having to queue up for the venue was a novelty, although I did eventually resist the temptation to resort to fisticuffs when some people barged their way in front of us. It was pleasant enough, with a nice little seperate bar area, where I caught my first sight of a delightful Alison Goldfrapp look-a-like (more on her later) and ended up chatting to someone I used to work with.
Anyway, we went into the actual auditorium just in time to miss the support act and saw someone who Gee works with. We didn't actually go over to her of course, but she was eyeing him up all the same. Then my "The Like" badges created a conversation with the afformetioned Goldfrapp doppleganger, although for the most part we did seem to be at cross-purposes. Needless to say, the Dean didn't "seal the deal" but it was still more action than I would usually get on a Friday night :D.
I was a bit sceptical when Martha came on the stage, mumbled something I couldn't hear and then went straight into a song I was unfamiliar with (not having the BMFA ep). But then after that she kicked into "When The Day Is Short", one of my favourite songs off her album, and from that moment on I was putty in her hands.
She rattled through great versions of all her best tracks and treated us to cover versions of songs by the likes of Warren Zevon, The Rolling Stones and Cole Porter. She also did a haunting version of The Beatles' "Help" which stripped away the jovialty of the original and replaced it with the kind of maudlin helplessness well suited to my life. The fact that she'd only decided to do that song hours before the concert and had to have the lyrics in front of her only added to it's charm. There was also the French song she did, introduced as "a song written by Barbara" (said in a sexy French accent), "which is French for Barbara" (said in her sexy southern drawl). Well I laughed at the time anyway.
She also got a lady from the audience on stage to sing backing vocals, had half the audience squawking like Native Indians as a backing to another track and segued a request for Tequilla into a little song. It has to be said she was just ever so slightly barmy, what with forgetting lyrics and occasionally suddenly going off on a tangent mid-song. But by this time I think I was falling in love with her, so I found it all very charming ;-).
Of course all this meant that the show over-ran the curfew, but Martha played on anyway and still did the encore. Then she came out afterwards and, despite the hordes of people that waited to see her, was perfectly sweet to everyone who wanted something signing. Despite the bouncers best efforts to thwart my efforts, I queued up and got her to sign my CD booklet (although, in something which I found hilarious at the time, she took great effort to write the "To Matthew" bit and then scrawled a barely legible version of her own name).
Of course, whilst in the queue I entered a rather bizarre conversation with the girl and lad in front of us, which took in such topics as the relative brilliance of Fern Britton and Ainsley Harriot, and led to me declaring that it would be a great idea for me and Martha to be the contestants on Ready Steady Cook :D
I also got my picture taken with her and thanks to Gee for doing the duties. Of course Gee wasn't quite sure if it'd worked, so he stood there with the camera for a while, which gave me the chance to once again try and crack a joke to a celebrity that once again fell flat. Either that, or she really did want to stand holding me for a while longer... ;-)
So all in all this was an absolutely brilliant concert, and a brilliant night in total as well. I really can't praise the woman enough.
Martha Wainwright...better than Lucie Silvas (by a COUNTRY mile as well :D)