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Liverpool Number One Project - Liverpool Kings Dock Arena

By Dave Richards

Liverpool - Capital Of Culture 2008. I'm not exactly sure what that means, to be honest, but I am looking forward to seeing some decent bands (and Premier League Darts) at this new arena at the Kings Dock, so when I found out on the Thursday before there were still some tickets left for this Number One Project thing I snapped them up, one for me and one for Sybil. Going to any of these things on the arm means a different strategy than if you were going with the mob. For starters, no class A's - I had to make do with a few rockets I made earlier - and the certainty that I would spend half the night queuing up for shite ale and alcopops (seven pound a round it was, bottles only). We got there handy cos I had to find the box-office to collect the tickets. It was pissing down and she "can't walk in these shoes" so it was straight in, but I still managed to slope off for a pre-match bliff and a nose at the gaff itself from the outside. It looks allright, but it's still a bit of a building site at the moment, but once all the dumper trucks etc have gone (probably in 2018) I think it's gonna be impressive, especially with the backdrop of the Mersey with a few big liners docked up. Thank fuck Everton never got it.

Once inside the gaff and onto the concourse it reminded me a bit of the old Wembley and the way you could walk right round it. All the bars and bogs are on the ground floor, the signs for the seats are pretty easy to follow, and once you get to your spec there's plenty of leg-room. Acoustically it sounded OK as well, not the big bass-heavy mung you get sometimes. The thing kicked off about 7.30 and there was quite a few empty seats at the start but they got filled up pretty quickly. The general jist of the night was a celebration of the fact the Liverpool has provided more UK Number One records than any other city (per head of population). They organised it so that old and new bands would cover these hits, and it was split into two halves. The first was compered by legendary better blue Billy Butler, the second half by some arl Radio Oner called Janice Long. Jennie Frost - WOOL - took care of the on-stage-minge-lovely-Debbie role. The crowd was a pretty good cross-section of Liverpool life. As always you got a healthy smattering of quite spectacular orange uber-wags - hot pants, high heels and vest tops seemed to be the order of the day - along with lots of families with kids, grannies, footy mobs, musos, former members of the Beatles road crew - ie taxi drivers. Smokers were catered for with a outdoor “Riverside” bifter section, but it was rammed and the puffing grannies gave me bad stick for chonging away on the green until I told them Macca himself had sorted me with a nice twennybag in honour of the big day. Not that Macca, obviously.

There's no point going through every act that was on, there was loads of them. I can't remember most of it anyway cos by full-time I was cabbaged on bottled Carling and the blue peters. The highlights for me were The Sums fantastic "Paperback Writer", Shack's stoner "Day Tripper", Thea Gilmore’s - WOOL - acoustic "You Spin Me Right Round" , "Tash" from Atomic Kitten doing "You're My Weeerld", the Kittens themselves with "Anyone Who Ever Had A Heart", The Farm's "Needles And Pins" complete with assorted bin lids on stage, and of course Gerry Marsden's "Walk On" prompting the blueboys in attendance to stage a mini walkout. I don't blame them at all, would have done the same myself, if I'd been born wrong, although the People's Club thing looked a bit wonky seeing as 9,500 stayed behind to belt out The Anthem. Not me like, I jibbed it halfway through and fell down the stairs twice on the way out, but I deffo heard the strains of "We don't care what the red shite say" from down below. I wasn't the only one who went on their arse either, the stairs are a bit steep and I saw some arl twirl go west with a full tray of ale - watch them claims going in from everywhere after Aussie Floyd in the summer.

There was some bizarre bits worth mentioning – Dr And The Medics did a mental version of “Two Tribes” – who even knew he was from Liverpool ? Some feller did a avante-garde rendition of “Ticket To Ride” while having a shave, and there were a few lowlights as well – “Three Lions” is never ever ever gonna be anything other than a Mingland anthem and has no place in Liverpool, Garry Christian didn't do justice to "My Sweet Lord" - I think there was something wrong with him. Sonia totally murdered "She Loves You" - straight to the bar there. Some great bands were conspicuous by their absence – The Bunnymen, The La’s, The Zutons, The Coral, Elvis Costello, him out of Groundpig, The Searchers, The Real Thing….and errr…..The Muffin Men. Billy Butler did a few bad shouts - "Is there any other city in the world that could fill a venue like this with home-grown acts ? No there isn't" - well apart from LA, New York, San Francisico, Detroit and London to name five there isn't it Billy, soft lad. Ringo took a bit of stick as well cos of his appearance the night before on Jonathon Ross, particularly off The Scaffold, but I thought it was a bit arlarse. "Ringo - for the last 30 years you've been living in California, hanging out with Marlon Brando and co, getting gams off assorted hot Bond girls, and earning millions every year for fuck all - do you miss anything about Liverpool 8 ?". OF COURSE HE FUCKING DOESN'T. At least he was honest, I would have spewed if he had give it the Cilla/Tarby routine. Apart from putting the boot in on Ringo and bringing the house down with "Lily The Pink", Mike McCartney/McGear also read out a text from "our kid" which summed it all up, probably - I have got no idea what it said but I believe it was along the lines of "Have a great night, Liverpool 08 yeah, see you soon, peace and love, thumbs up, and fuck those Yanks off - RTK".




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