As a yoof, I didn't go to a lot of gigs, but I remember a couple with particular fondness. I saw CARAVAN twice around the Cunning Stunts era. On one occasion, at the Palace, Manchester, I think, they were just getting ready for Love in Your Eye and Pye Hastings stepped up to the mike and said something alongs the lines of 'We've done this song so many times that we've decided to rename it just for tonight. So here we have 'Loving You is sweeter than having a good Shit!"

I saw Caravan again some months later when they were double billed with Renaissance. That was a deeply moving experience as I was (and still am) hopelessly in love with Annie Haslam. She was a vision of loveliness in a long white flowing dress with a deep plunging neclkine and a an ample bosom, and I was an impressionable 16 year old! Draw your own conclusions. Needless to say, I bought several of their albums too. The only downer that night was that, because it was Sunday, they had to clear the hall by midnight and so there was no time for Caravan to do an encore.

More recently, Kevin Ayers and the Wizards of Twiddly at the Band on the Wall in Manchester was a fine event. Seeing Kevin for the first time ever was fascinating and stimulating, playing some stuff I knew and a lot that I didn't. The Wizards are brilliant as anyone who has ever seen them will testify and when they joined in Kevin's set, they added a a new dimension. A more powerful rendition of 'Why Are We Sleeping' you couldn't with for.

Finally, the two Gong gigs at the Irish Centre in Leeds in '97, the latter of which I covered in Facelift 19, were major events for me, for different reasons. The first one, because this was the first time I had ever seen them playing, and I was (oddly enough) genuinely surprised at just how good they were. At the second gig we were down at the front of the stage grooving with the gnomes and really being taken on a journey.

issue 20 - the issue that never happened!
- simon kerry's top 5 gigs