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Back In The Day – Gig 3 – Interpol – 24th June 2003
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The memory of this gig is a little on the hazy side! Four of us drove down to see Interpol at Shepherds Bush Empire from Birmingham, not quite sure why we didn’t go see them somewhere nearer home, perhaps they didn’t play in the Midlands.

The journey down was a fraught one, too many tins of Stella Artois meant we all had to keep stopping on the M40 to let off steam! This is the main reason the memory is a bit frayed. I do remember our knowledge of London streets at that time left a little bit to be desired and we were wandering around Baker Street trying to find Shepherds Bush! This was well before my IT working days in the City so my command of the underground wasn’t what it is now!

I remember it being a hot day and sitting on Shepherds Bush Green watching to see when the first people started queuing. We saw Sam Fogarino of the band exit a restaurant accosted by some screaming girls, it was a bit like a scene from some Beatles footage! Interpol were not a well known band back then so to see this mania was a little surprising.  Once we saw Sam go in the stage door that was our cue to get in the queue!

I loved being at the front, standing, have never understood why anyone would choose to sit down at a gig come to think of it. This always meant of course a looooong wait and I can’t sadly remember if there was actually any support band, Interpol have been known not to have any in the past so perhaps I waited hours and hours, probably getting through a whole pack of 20 cigarettes in the process!

Finally the band came on and they were smart, real snappy dressers. Suited and booted, reminded me of Joy Division, Interpol being the nearest you could get to my idols back then. The first album “Turn On The Bright Lights” is a masterpiece from start to finish and this tour was in support of it. Paul Banks looked great, smoking a tab, holding his fender guitar, very smooth, he said “Hello” in his deep also velvety smooth voice and we were away. Straight into “Untitled” the album opener, felt absolutely lifted along on a magic carpet with the reverberating, overlapping guitars intertwined with the dark vocals. Paul was a genius lyricist, quirky, meaningful, unique and emotional, delivering them with a powerful but also fragile voice which made you think he was going to cry at any moment.

The sound of Interpol rang around SBE that night, it always has been one of my favourite venues for sound. For a relatively new band they were definitely attracting a cult following of which I was proud to be a member of, though I always refrain from the tradition of throwing my pint over everyone else in excitement!

We weren’t expecting an encore as had heard the band didn’t really do them. Well they did two and ended with my favourite tracks off the album, “The New” and “Leif Erikson”.

We left buzzing from the experience, what a fantastic gig. I loved it so much that have seen them 5 times since and the band of course have gone on from strength to strength, hitting huge heights in the UK around 8 years ago when the Joy Division phenomena suddenly got noted by the masses 30 years after the band broke up! They still remain one of my favourite bands and hope to see them again soon. Thankyou Interpol for some great memories.

Here is the setlist link from SETLIST.FM for that night :

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Back In The Day – Gig 3 – Interpol – 24th June 2003
Penned by Stephen Lee
Fri, 04 Jun 2021 @ 12:23


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