Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls
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Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls

O2 Arena, Greenwich


Apart from seeing the tail end of bands in pubs this was my first gig of the year and I can categorically say my best one so far. I was in a bit of a dilemma about going to this show as I had made a mistake about dates having also a ticket for the Arsenal – Manure game, looking at the result and both teams not even trying for the whole 90 minutes I think I made the right choice.

We drove to the O2 and in case you didn’t know it’s an easy one from Chelmsford, straight down the A12, through the Blackwall tunnel, first turn off and you are there, we took a few detours because of rush hour travel and it still only took us about a hour and a half. It’s then that you get into rip off city, £20 parking if you have pre-booked £30 if you haven’t. There are many bars there and the one that we went in cost £5.60 for a pint. Anyway that’s the bad bit out of the way. This was the first time I had been to the main O2 arena, I have been to the Indigo rooms and also when it was the Dome and I was not looking forward to it as I do prefer an intimate gig. I have to say that it was pretty good, the sound was spot on and there was a lot of people there and it didn’t feel over packed but it also had that feeling of a crowd that was out to enjoy it’s self. I don’t know what it would be like if it was all seating but the ground floor was all standing and this was where we were.

As usual we missed the support bands of Flogging Molly and Beans on Toast because Paul and myself had a couple of beers and watched the first half of the match. The main event came on. I don’t know if you have seen Frank Turner before but I highly recommend that you do. He is a folk singer who has lots of attitude, probably because he used to play in punk bands. The band and himself play a cross between the Pogues, Bruce Springsteen, the Clash, early rock and roll and Billy Bragg in a very English way. All the songs have catchy lyrics and choruses and he is followed by an ehthusiastic and faithful fanbase. He also seems to care about them as well. Having never been to the O2 before, I do know it is very expensive for tickets, but Frank apparently wanted the biggest place he thought he could fill and took little out of the entrance fee with most of the monies going to the venue, hence only £30 for a ticket including booking fees. Not bad for an old Etonian. I wont bore you with the set list but this link will take you to it, (click on link below) My standouts from a very good and long set, about a hour and three quarters were “Photosyhnthesis” a great rousing chorus, probably a bit late for my time of life, “I still believe,” “Try this at home,” the DIY punk song, “Glory Hallelujah,”my mums favourite song about God, if she heard me listening to this one she would kill me, “I am disappeared” just a good song, “If I ever stray” another crowd pleaser,. It all finished with a great encore of the “The ballad of me and my friends” and two dancers to finish with “I still believe” and “four simple words.” To be true it was all fantastic, Frank is a very English singer who seems to be very proud of our country. The second time I have seen him and hopefully not the last. I would like to thank Paul for driving, Sam for getting the tickets and Jack and Matt for putting up with a couple of old farts.

Duncan, February 14