Never loved Elvis? Me neither. The Stuffies have been threatening to hit the stages for several years but something happened and the anniversary tour hit the buffers a few times before it became the ‘Never Loved Elvis 31-year anniversary Tour’ Not quite the same ring to it but hey, what can you do about it other than get the pencil out and reschedule again.
With an early start due to the fact that Milo and the Stuffies wanted to give fans who’ve remained patient and loyal some bang for their buck this one kicked off at just twenty past eight! Playing the entire Number Three in the chart bothering mid-heyday album ‘Never Loved Elvis’ in its track listed entirety before then indulging in an epic greatest hits romp through an inspired back catalogue.
Tonight was one of those special performances, one that pops up for regular gig-goers every now and then and for many reasons it inspires, it confirms why we do this and tonight The Wonder Stuff was that performance. Now, I’ve seen the band many many times over the years in many places from football stadiums to festivals to nice-sized venues Like Tramshed. I’ve also seen several acoustic shows from Milo and Erica which were eventful and often fantastic but tonight the ‘Never Loved Elvis’ set was inspired. Sure they’ve done sets before that have been epic but this one was special. I pretty much love every album and have played them a bazillion times over the years and I have never been able to decide which is my favourite which is a good thing – it keeps listening healthy but from the opening shaker shake of Mission Drive to the sign off of ’38 Line Poem’ ‘Never Loved Elvis’ sounded incredible. The new (happy-go-lucky smiling) Milo is a revelation even finding time to reflect on his previous persona which made plenty giggle but it’s good, I like both. We’d never have had ‘Cartoon Boyfriend’, ‘Play’, On The Ropes’ had he been smiling and happy all the time.
The rehearsals had paid off and the band sounded tight and playing at a fantastically loud volume seemed to add an edge – a vitality to proceedings that was very much appreciated. ‘Never Loved Elvis’ was played as promised with nothing missing or reshuffled and it sounded awesome! Milo enquired why didn’t he write more ballads and why were the band in such a rush back in the day? After the thirteen-song opening salvo, the band retreated for a short interval before returning to the stage to plough through another nineteen songs from all corners of the band’s catalogue.
‘It was ‘Hups’ ’30 years In The Bathroom’ that kicked off the second half as the band sped from early songs (Eight Legged Groove Machines) ‘Red Berry’ to (Constructions) ‘On The Ropes’. I love the “hits” but I also love hearing new songs and ones from the more recent records so it was great to get ‘Feet To The Flames’ and ‘Don’t Anyone Dare Give A Damn’ off the most recent LP. It was then time to take in a sharp breath and race to the finish line. ‘Circlesquare’, ‘Radio Ass Kiss’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘Ten Trenches’ all flew by in an exhilarating set before leaving the sweat-soaked stage for a final encore and it was ‘Unbearable’, ‘Give Give Give Me More More More’ before shutting this incredible performance down with the headfuck of ‘Goodnight Though’ simply my favourite end of the show song ever! Take a breath, have a stretch and off into the cool night air we fled, grinning like Cheshire cats knowing we’d just seen one hell of a performance from a superb band who still cut the mustard. Oh and it was reassuringly loud which was nice, and I mean LOUD!
Can we do this again for the ‘Construction For The Modern Idiot’ 30th anniversary please Milo? Bring the new album as well, thanks. Epic!
Author: Dom Daley