Suede – Absolut Big Top – 23-07-16 – GIAF – Live Review

Brett Anderson Sings

Suede – Absolut Big Top – 23-07-16 – Live Review @ the Galway International Arts Festival

Suede were the last band to play the Absolut Big Top, after an impressive run of gigs throughout the festival. This tour by Suede has two parts to each show, with the band playing their new album Night Thoughts in its entirety in the first part of the set, before later returning to play ‘the hits’. The first part of the night was also unusual as the band play behind a screen showing a variety of short films. There is no narrative to the piece, instead it is a collection of shorts or videos for each particular song, directed by Roger Sargent.

The crowd were slow to react to the first part of the night and there was a sense of detachment between the band and the audience, as is often the case when playing behind a screen. The new album is enjoyable but really most of the audience were there for the hits, a return to their heyday of the 90s.

Absolut Big Top Galway

After the interval the screen was dispensed with and Brett seemed energised after quite a controlled first set. The band went through a crowd pleasing set that included Trash, Animal Nitrate and Metal Mickey. They finished the night with the Beautiful Ones before returning for a one song encore in the form of New Generation. The two parts of the set were very different in terms of energy and crowd reaction. Another impressive night from a band that continue to stay relevant and vibrant.

Set List –

Night Thoughts –
When You Are Young
No Tomorrow
Pale Snow
I Don’t Know How to Reach You
What I’m Trying to Tell You
Learning to Be
Like Kids
I Can’t Give Her What She Wants
When You Were Young
The Fur and the Feathers

Hits & Treats –
Animal Nitrate
He’s Dead
The Asphalt World
So Young
Metal Mickey
Beautiful Ones

New Generation


7 replies »

  1. “There is no narrative to the piece, instead it is a collection of shorts or videos for each particular song” – this statement isn’t true. There is a clear narrative of a young couple who lose a child through drowning and the affect this has on their relationship ultimately leading to the death by suicide of the father who goes back to the beach to drown himself in the same spot.
    The timeline of events isn’t chronological in the songs and it skips from scene to scene but the narrative is pretty clear

  2. I have to disagree with this review… The album Night Thoughts is the narrative to the film & the screening wasn’t a variety of short films it was one film centred around a man and woman & grandfather coming to terms with the drowning of their son, maybe I’m just biased but in our group we did not feel detached from it at all & from talking to others at the gig the consensus was the movie was exceptionally moving & performance was incredible.

    • Haha – yea. We hadn’t realised each other had commented so sorry if it looked like we were ganging up on you then. I think the 2nd half was always going to be more crowd pleasing as the hits will always go down better than new songs. Personally i’m delighted to see the band try new things, I thought it worked well but I respect the fact that you didn’t think so.

      • I’ve seen a few bands play behind screens and never thought it worked. Nice idea, but… Gorillaz did it a few years ago also. Actually, the main difference was Brett, who was so animated in the second half, jumping into the crowd etc. Anyway, each to their own. I do like the new album, just would have liked to see it performed with the passion of the second half.

      • I thoroughly enjoyed the entire gig. Massively impressed with Suede’s live performance. The sound quality was tremendous in the big tent. Brett Anderson is a superb singer and front man.

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