We made the journey from St Albans in style, courtesy of Pete's one- eyed jag: up the M1, followed by a hugely enjoyable M6-ster, then the Black Country Route into Bilston.
After booking into the Haven Hotel - no frills, handy for the venue (and they do an excellent breakfast, but bring a flask of hot water) - we headed for the India Gate for a delicious meal, which we later worked off in the mosh pit (or in Pete's case, jog pit).
The Robin 2 is a pleasingly intimate (i.e. small) venue, with a cloakroom that obligingly opened for a brief five-minute period before the gig began. There was a good crowd, and it was nice to see some familiar faces. Noticed the usual smattering of Dukla Prague away kits, and one stalwart had even managed to get hold of some Joy Division oven gloves. Presumably his uncle owns a kitchenware shop and had kept them to one side.
The band ambled on stage at about 9.
Set list was as follows:
Problem Chimp, We Built This Village on a Trad. Arr. Tune, Petty Sessions, Dead Men, Eno Collaboration [introduced as "something we've never done"], Totnes Bickering Fair, Bob Wilson, Shite Day, Irk the Purists, Blue Badge, Restless Legs, Dickie Davies Eyes, Evening Sun , Bad Losers, Chatteris, Hare's Running at Monmore, Light at the end of the Tunnel, 24-Hour Garage People [no-Pringles mix], Running Order Squabble Fest, Them's the Vagaries, Slipknot, Joy Division Oven Gloves.
There was also an apparently spur-of-the-moment, mosh-pit-igniting rendition of Trumpton Riots in there somewhere.
Evening of Swing, A Country Practice/Time Flies By (When You're the Driver of a Train).
A storming set, then, with some good between-song banter, including some remarks on the sartorial habits of certain audience members, a "no dry ice?" moment and an hilarious broadside at bus drivers.
I won't say the light show was excellent.
Highlights too numerous to mention, but A Country Practice (a personal favourite) was a particular treat, as was the even-more-rambling-than- usual 24-Hour Garage People. What an evening, and what a band. More than 20 years on, they are as good as ever, and clearly enjoying themselves. Can't wait to see them again.
Postscript: There was another, alternative set list that I managed to retrieve from the stage after the band departed. Here it is. The iPod playlist from 24-Hour Garage people, perhaps?
Walking on Sunshine
Shaddup ya Face
Pat Trip Dispenser
The Laughing Policeman
Bird on the Wire
Remember You're A Womble
I Feel Like Chicken Tonight!
Hand in glove
One armed Scissor
Feels like I'm Fixin' to Die