KT Tunstall, The Arches, Glasgow, 13th November 2011

I kind of accidentally bought a ticket to see KT Tunstall on this tour.  I had gone in to The Arches box office to get a ticket for The Airborne Toxic Event  and saw that they were still selling tickets for KT’s solo shows. I hadn’t really intended to go, but on impulse bought one cos KT Tunstall rocks and I thought, “why not?”.

I had only managed to stump up enough money for 1 ticket at the time, and unfortunately by the time my other half decided he wanted to come it was sold out, so off I went on my own again.

I got to the venue just after the doors were due to open, but there was a massive queue around the block. It was bloody freezing but I didn’t want to wander off some place and come back to find the place packed out so I joined the queue. Fortunately they got us moving quickly and before long I was in. Inside The Arches wasn’t much warmer than outside, but I checked my coat, grabbed a drink (from the handy “soft bar”) and looked for a spot.

It was indeed pretty packed. Unfortunately it was packed mostly with people who weren’t used to going to gigs, they were middle aged ladies with their long-suffering husbands / daughters / drunken friends grateful for a night out. They were all dressed in their finest gear as if for a “proper concert” and were complaining about there being no seats. Great. I settled on a space by the wall at the right hand side, about  halfway back, trying to position myself behind the smallest people I could find.

There were 2 support acts, in my usual disorganised fashion I didn’t note their names. They were both soloists, 1 girl, 1 boy. The girl was good, and although she played an electric guitar, she played it very softly and gently and I couldn’t help but think she’d be ideal playing acoustically in a cafe or bar as kind of background music. The guy had an acoustic guitar, but was more rocky with it, I quite liked him.

So then it was KT’s turn. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the “solo show”. I knew she had a recent EP out, which I hadn’t bought, so imagined there’d be stuff from that, and I had hoped she’d do stuff from the “Acoustic Extravaganza” album/EP whatever it was, which I really liked. I was a bit disappointed. It was just her (obviously) but she made good use of the recording loop things that she’s quite well known for, which I think is cool, but she played loads of songs from her main 3 albums.  I’ve seen her 3 times before, I think once per album, so I’ve heard all those songs before and was really hoping for something different.  Clearly with it being just her she was doing a different interpretation of them, but still.

Don’t get me wrong, she is still awesome, her voice was amazing, it was great to hear her just with the guitar, sometimes acoustic, sometimes electric, and as she said it was kind of like her going back to her roots and her busking days.  I really liked the 2 songs she did on the piano, I had no idea she played the piano so well.  I would just have liked more variety in the setlist.

I have to talk about the audience. Oh. My God. they were so irritating. There were loads of them who insisted on filming practically the whole show, or taking photos constantly.  My view wasn’t great at the best of times, but more often that not all I could see was somebody’s fecking iphone screen blinking away. Seriously one guy in front of me was so bad I was beginning to look for an object to throw at him. The ones that weren’t filming were talking. These were the ones who clearly had got the first album for Christmas all these years ago, had continued to hear the hits off that album on Clyde 2 or some other lame radio station that is stuck in the 90s since then, hadn’t heard and didn’t care about any of her other stuff and were only interested in hearing those songs. So they gossiped during all the other songs. I was looking for more objects to shove in their mouths.

So all that kind of detracted from my enjoyment somewhat.

Also although I love KT Tunstall, and could appreciate that she was putting on a really good show, I just wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I would.  Maybe it was because I had recently seen a few new bands and these were really amazing gigs, compared to the more familiar territory of KT, maybe cos I was tired due to aforementioned gigs, or maybe the crowd were just outright spoiling it for me but I just wasn’t feeling it.  I didn’t have the same emotional reaction as I did to the other shows, the same anticipation, excitement and engagement with the songs, lyrics and music as I have done previously.  I knew it at the time but couldn’t really figure it out, I’m not much more able to put my finger on it now, but it just felt like there was something missing.

Anyway, the gig finished and I headed outside. I saw some people were waiting for KT to come out.  I wasn’t in a particular rush to get home, so I thought I might as well wait too. Like I said, my reaction was nothing to do with the performance that night, I still think KT is an incredible performer and I didn’t know if I’d get the chance to meet her again.  I decided to stay as long as there were other people, and as long as I could still get my bus home.  A security guy came out and told us that seeing as it was the last night of the tour there was a bit of a party going on inside, but the venue would be chucking them out at midnight, so we decided to hold on til then.

Our waiting was not in vain, and KT herself emerged with a few of her crew.  She was surprised to see so many of us still there, and was very nice going round signing things, taking photos and generally chatting.  I dived in quickly cos I wanted to make sure I got my bus, she signed my ticket and posed for a photo, taken on my phone by her very tall friend/manager/whoever so it looks rather creepy but I couldn’t complain.

All in all I have mixed feelings about the night, but I’m glad I went and definitely glad I got to meet her, so it was a good impulse buy in the end.

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