Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Release Athens Festival 2022 - Bauhaus & The Jesus And Mary Chain

I was still nervous about going to a festival and mingling with huge crowds of people. However I had decided that four dates of this year's Release Athens Festival were the ideal ones for me to return to proper concerts. The idea was this: They were open air gigs, the pandemic had somehow slowed down, so all I had to do was not go to the very front and experience them from somewhere at the back. The only thing that I insisted on was that I was not going to buy the tickets until the very last minute. You see, most of these acts had been announced for 2020 (Bauhaus and Pet Shop Boys for instance), then postponed for 2021 and then again rescheduled for 2022. That wasn't the main problem though. What was annoying was that the people who had bought the tickets back in 2019 were not offered a refund. What they got instead was the promise that their tickets would remain valid for the date the gig actually took place. Whereas the money I had paid for a festival at London's Hyde Park was refunded to me up to the very last penny. Plus I couldn't be sure, even if most concerts went ahead that the ones I had selected would actually take place because what we've seen a lot this year was that if one member of a band tested positive the whole date was cancelled.

I had actually contemplated going to see Still Corners earlier in the year, but I backed out of it because it was at an indoor venue. So, I narrowed it down to four Release Athens festival dates: Bauhaus, London Grammar, Pet Shop Boys and Iggy Pop. An additional thing that also helped was that there were some "two-day" ticket offers costing cheaper than buying two single tickets for the same dates instead. So, I bought one two day ticket for Bauhaus and Iggy Pop, and another one for London Grammar and Pet Shop Boys.

When I arrived at Water Square, I realized I could go ahead with my plan: Get in, not wear a mask and stay at the back. It helped, because there weren't as many people there that day as on other dates even though I didn't arrive early because all I wanted to see was just The Jesus And Mary Chain and Bauhaus. When I did get in, it was like not one day had passed since 2019. I met most of my friends that I usually meet at gigs at Water Square, most of whom I hadn't seen since 2019.

The Jesus And Mary Chain finally started their set. I had seen them at the exact same place five years ago, back in 2017. Although I preferred the setlist they played back in the day, all the favourites were still here.

After the JAMC set was over and while waiting for Bauhaus I started chatting to someone whose face looked quite familiar. He was Johnny Highway from the Greek band Mr.Highway Band that I've seen at least three times live!

And then it was time for Bauhaus, the main reason I went to the gig. Their date had also been announced three years ago for 2020 and I had thought of going even then. I remember listening to Bauhaus and The Birthday Party on the radio and reading about them in POP + ROCK magazine during the early eighties. And since I managed to see Nick Cave four years ago (who in the intervening years had become extremely popular in Greece), I also wanted to see Bauhaus.

Now, I knew beforehand that their set wasn't going to be very long. But as everybody knows by now those sound problems came up, irritating Peter Murphy and cutting their set even shorter. He left the stage during Ziggy Stardust leaving his guitarist to finish the song. However, all the songs I wanted to hear were played (Telegram Sam, She's In Parties, Ziggy Stardust and a couple of others). Because of that, unlike others, I'm not going to complain or ask for my money back because I've seen what I wanted to see, I've experienced what I wanted to experience.

I did end up wearing a mask in the end but only while getting out of the venue where there were a lot of people around me. And finally, this was the last gig for my then current camera which after showing some problems with the extraction of the lens, had to be retired, at least from concert use. A new, but similar one, featuring a retractable display screen to facilitate taking selfies would be used from the next gig...



01. Amputation
02. Head On
03. I Love Rock 'N' Roll
04. April Skies
05. Come On
06. Moe Tucker
07. Taste Of Cindy
08. Snakedriver
09. Teenage Lust
10. Cracking Up
11. Halfway To Crazy
12. Far Gone And Out
13. Nine Million Rainy Days
14. Some Candy Talking
15. Darklands
16. Just Like Honey
17. All Things Must Pass
18. Reverence

01. Rosegarden Funeral Of Sores
02. Double Dare
03. In The Flat Field
04. A God In An Alcove
05. In Fear Of Fear
06. Stigmata Martyr
07. She's In Parties
08. Kick In The Eye
09. Bela Lugosi's Dead
10. Telegram Sam
11. Ziggy Stardust