The Academy 2, Manchester, 13th December (16/12/02)

Roger Green:

A momentous occasion. Never been to every Biscuit gig in a year before....

What a splendid start to the evening was provided by Mrs Gig Fascist Officialdom. All we wanted was a little drinky in the bar, but we were told (in no uncertain terms, it has to be said) that the doors did not open until 7.30, despite the fact that we could see the place was chocka already. Not wanting to cause a scene we took our custom elsewhere. Just the kind of misery guts Jobsworth that you hope to meet one day working behind the counter in the proverbial Twenty Four Hour Garage.

The show itself involved a DJ spinning a few discs before HMHB ambled onto stage at just after nine. There was a healthy representation from the Cammell Laird album and quite a few dredged up from the past, as usual. And you could have got some decent odds on Lucille being the evening's cover version. Also there were snippets of work-in-progress. The one about looking after the wrong grave will be worth hearing again following suitable tweaking at the edges.

Ever since 1985 I've been waiting for HMHB to play a bad gig that might make me think twice about going again. Come December 2002 and I'm still waiting. Look out for rumours and counter-rumours and just hope that this fine band go back on the road in the not-too-distant. But these days something seems different. You see them walk off stage after another reading of The Trumpton Riots and you wonder when they'll be back. They will be. Won't they?