Reviews

Review: The The back on stage in London at the Royal Albert Hall

A frontman announcing the recent death of a loved one isn’t the most conventional way to open a concert, but that’s the unfortunate situation forced upon a bereaved Matt Johnson last week as he kicked off a series of The The concerts in London last week with a date at the Royal Albert Hall.

Matt’s dad, Eddie Johnson, who was due to watch his son at the show, had died a few days earlier, and while some would have been aware (the The The frontman had informed his fans via social media three days earlier) he clearly felt like something needed to be said. On Facebook he wrote of finding himself “trapped in the public eye” during this period of grieving but having no real choice by to go on with the show due to the “massive financial implications” of not doing so. To be fair, Johnson also made the point that his dad would have wanted the show to go on, so I’m sure that was in his mind too.

There was an impressive integrity in making such a personal statement and Johnson was reinforcing a lack of artifice in The The. Music and rock ’n’ roll for him obviously isn’t about fantasy – running on stage in leather trousers and shouting ‘yeah!’ – bands are made up of real people, with real lives and real problems – he wasn’t afraid to let the audience in.

Naturally, there was a warm and sympathetic response from the crowd, although almost inevitably, it made for a slight disconcerting and muted beginning to the evening’s entertainment, something underlined by the choice of Global Eyes, a relatively obscure opener from NakedSelf – the last ‘proper’ The The album, issued on Trent Reznor’s Nothing Records back in 2000.

I had a good vantage point, from the stalls, very near the front, and could see cameras all over the place. It turned out that the gig was being filmed, by Tim Pope and presumably a DVD or blu-ray release will emerge at some point. Johnson mentioned the filming as he implored people to resist the urge to watch the show through their iPhones (something the chap to the left of me was unable to do!).

Two out of the next three songs were from 1986’s Infected (including Heartland) and a fairly languid The Beat(en) generation followed soon after. I was really enjoying the show at this point but surprisingly, for a band that’s been away from the stage for so long, the atmosphere was a little muted and whether the seated environment in the Royal Albert Hall and a certain British reserve was inhibiting a full blown emotional response from the crowd, it’s hard to say.

I don’t think anyone would try to claim that Matt Johnson is a natural showman, but he did his best to gee up the crowd. Opposite from me, on the other side of the venue, fans were being blinded by a very strong white light from stage left as Tim Pope sought a monochromatic Mis-en-scène, but thankfully for them, some forward thinking production person recognised that it could be a problem and the next time I looked over they were all wearing shades!

The lighting was taken down to an intimate amber hue as the middle section of the show embraced love, lust and loss…. which can only mean songs from 1993’s Dusk! Four in a row, no less (Johnson would play seven from the album in total) and for me this was when the gig really came to life. I was a bit too young to engage with the band in the early days and come ’85-6 was too distracted with Kate Busha-ha and the Pet Shop Boys to give them much attention, but come the new decade and in my early 20s, the Dogs of Lust single encouraged me to seek out the band’s fourth album and I thought it was close to perfect and it was on heavy rotation for most of 1993 and for many years after.

I hadn’t necessarily envisaged the Dusk material as being a crowd favourite, and so the reaction from the audience at this point surprised me a little bit – maybe it was the transition from the political to the personal – but I looked around and saw fans singing along heartily with some almost involuntary standing up and bobbing along. Johnson probably hit the nail on the head when – looking around the room at his 40 and 50-something fans – he said that we’ve all probably lost someone, somewhere along the way (“unless you die young”) and when he sang the incredibly moving Love Is Stronger Than Death, it felt like artist and audience had truly connected.

I thought the five-piece band were very good, in a greater-than-the-sum-of-their parts kind of way and they were always disciplined servants to the songs. Despite the odd pithy comment, Johnson was a typically serious presence, although he allowed himself a chuckle when someone shouted out a request, informing fans that he could “never understand” why people asked for songs when they have a setlist written on a piece of paper and “that’s what we’re going to play”.

The last half hour of the 90-minute performance saw many people almost permanently out of their seats as The The delighted the capacity crowd with performances of I’ve Been Waiting For Tomorrow (For Most Of My Life) and Infected. Johnson did very well to deliver a note and pause-perfect True Happiness This Way Lies during the three-song encore and the number that closes Dusk – Lonely Planet – was a rousing end to the evening, its lyrics still apt a quarter of a century later.


Paul saw The The at the Royal Albert Hall on 5 June 2018.

Setlist

Global Eyes
Sweet Bird of Truth
Flesh and Bones
Heartland
The Beat(en) Generation
Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)
Inertia
We Can’t Stop What’s Coming
Phantom Walls
Love Is Stronger Than Death
Dogs of Lust
Helpline Operator
This Is the Night
This Is the Day
Soul Catcher
Bugle Boy
Slow Emotion Replay
Like a Sun Risin Thru My Garden
Infected
I’ve Been Waitin’ for Tomorrow (All of My Life)

Encore

True Happiness This Way Lies
Uncertain Smile
Lonely Planet

64 responses to Review: The The back on stage in London at the Royal Albert Hall

  1. I recently caught Mary Chapin Carpenter at The Barbican and the venue had signage asking you to turn off mobile phones. I expected this to be ignored but everyone seemed to respect the request. It made for a very refreshing change as I had an excellent seat in the stalls and didn’t see a single screen during the entire show.

    If they can do it at Barbican then RAH is a similar style of venue…

  2. Helmut Applebaum says:

    I think I was near you as well, Paul.

    For me I never got into Dusk, so it was a bit disappointing that the majority was from that album. I can understand that that is the first album where The the actually came together as a band for him, so that makes it satisfying to tour. A surprising number wanted to dance to these as well. robustly.

    I was pleased with the good treatments from Burning Blue Soul. Infected also got a good look in. But I was raised on that stretch from BB, through the rare tracks from Pornography of Despair, to Infected, then to a lesser extent Mind Bomb (which just didn’t gel for me). That period didn’t feel well served, but that’s his prerogative – it’s his career to present :) -Although he did play Flesh and Bones, one of the great rarities from that Some Bizarre compilation!

    I feel Matt wanted to entertain both himself and us, and there’s integrity there.

    What really took me out of the gig was the constant loud taking behind and the 5 guys pushing past me (all together as a tribe) 3 times during the gig to get two beers each. Ffs, its not a pub, control yourselves.

  3. Timbo19 says:

    A very fair review Paul. We must have been in more or less the same spot. I did feel for our ‘opposite numbers’ who were blinded by the light (so to speak). I sensed that part of the reason for the crowd seeming somewhat subdued was that some of the arrangements of the set’s early songs were a little too stripped down. At times, it was like listening to a pretty good tribute band. ‘The Beaten Generation’ suffered from this in particular and was marred by a dissonant contribution on whatever device the keyboard player was using on the ‘harmonica’ part.
    The pace of the set could have been managed better as well. Once they had the audience on their feet, they should have been kept there but the order of songs didn’t encourage that.
    Finally, there was the irony of the highlight of the night (from an audience reaction standpoint) being the piano outro on ‘Uncertain Smile’ which I had always understood MJ never liked and it only appeared on ‘Soul Mining’ at the record company’s insistence. As a guitarist, I think that solo is some of the best piano I have heard…
    I look forward to the DVD/CD/t-shirt SDE bundle in due course.

  4. Chris says:

    I’ve travelled from Hamburg, Germany to see Matt and the 2018 set up of The The at Brixton Academy. Since i stood directly at the stage there was no people chatting around all the time. I wonder why no one mentioned the (pointless) DJ Food set before the gig. It was a waste of time. Focussing on the show, i really liked the up-to-date transformation of especially the older songs. As well i found it wonderful that Matt brought his son to stage shortly before the gig – to tell the audience how important the relationship between a father and a son for him is . There were many people who seemed to know all the lyrics of all the songs by heart. I enjoyed the show very much and it didn’t was the regular “I-was-someone-in-the-80’s-now-i-come-to-collect-money-again”-shows. If The The would announce a german tour, I’d probably don’t go to see them again. Brixton was fantastic, why try to do it again? As long there is no complete new album, I would stick to this show. Sorry for my Kraut-English – i hope you got what i mean… P.S. The “Uncertain Smile”-piano solo was amazing.

  5. Eugene says:

    6 Music Session today. Starts after the second hour.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b53cd1

  6. johnny feathers says:

    Can’t wait till I see their gig in Chicago. This has me psyched.

  7. DJ Salinger says:

    Mortified I couldn’t get tickets for the RAH gig but by the time I’d made it to the front of the online queue there were only ‘hospitality seats’ for £2K. Ticket price last time I saw Matt and Co in 2002? £20.

    I know this is the unfortunate way of the world now, and I’m slipping into ‘broken record’ mode, but it is really galling when you’re denied access to favourite artists based on ability to pay/willingness to be fleeced.

    Mithering aside, nice review Paul. I hope he’ll come back around when the new album emerges. He’s never put a foot wrong musically and, for me, ‘NakedSelf’ is as fine a collection of songs as its predecessors. ‘Phantom Walls’ was an important song for me through a period of personal loss, and I should think it resonated anew at the gig with the sad news about Matt’s father. Eddie’s book, ‘Tales From The Two Puddings’ is well worth a read for a flavour of an east London that no longer exists.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I got my row 2 stalls (section G) ticket (I went on my own), which was a superb seat, for £99 on the morning of the gig! This is a lot of money, but there was still some availability. I’d always recommend using the RAH website, because they have a really good seatplan with ‘live’ availability of seats and the ‘session’ never seems to end, so you can always refresh. I had my browser tab open for a couple of days and I decided I would only pay £99 if I could get a really good seat. Lo and behold one lone, very good seat became available on that Tuesday, so I pounced! I had two tickets for Brixton but couldn’t go, so gave them to a mate.

      • DJ Salinger says:

        Thanks for the tip, Paul. I think I have to accept that long gone are the days of blithely wandering into Stargreen on Argyll St on spec and getting good tickets with no fuss…you’ve got to put the hours in online these days!

  8. CAB says:

    It’s quite odd to read about other people’s experiences at gigs regarding incessant chatter, phones and general rudenesss. I used to think my dislike of these experiences was because I was getting old.
    The first time I encountered a backlash from an artist was in the early 90’s.
    Mary Coughlan at Paradiso in Amsterdam halted a heartfelt rendition of Leaf From A Tree to tell a group of people to “shut the fock up”. She went on a short but livid, red haired tirade about rehearsing and playing to people who actually want to listen. She was bob on. Then she went back to singing.
    Since then I’ve experienced people ‘expressing themselves through dance’, taking up 2 square meters and flinging sweaty hair around instead of jigging up and down with a pint in one hand as has been de rigeur for decades. I had a word with one at Killing Joke. A Killing Joke gig is the perfect setting for having a word.
    Another ‘self expressionist’ appeared at Midlake. I believe someone eventually pushed him over after he ping ponged for the umpteenth time into a crowd of normal gig-goers.
    I reckon it’s because gigs became the new clubbing after the 80’s/90’s club scene died off.

    • Andy Haines says:

      I went to see The The at Manchester Academy some time in the 2000’s. I forget which album Matt was promoting, but I was looking forward to hearing The The in the flesh.
      Oh dear. It was an awful gig. It was just like being in a busy Weatherspoons. People were just drinking and shouting their conversation to try and be heard above the music. Formthose who were there to listen, couldn’t. I was really disappointed that the Venue didn’t separate the bar area from the stage so that people could enjoy the music. It’s a venue I won’t use again however desperate I am to see a particular artist. If they let people in because it was their usual drinking place and not because they were there to watch the concert then it’s not a good idea to mix the two.

  9. David Harold says:

    You missed Beyond Love off the set list after Bugle Boy and also that ‘track’ isn’t called Inertia. It’s a poem from The Inertia Variations and Matt’s own setlist describes it as “You would think I by now”.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I took the set list from the Royal Albert Hall’s website!

      • David Harold says:

        Yeah, and they took it from Setlist.fm before it was corrected – someone had just re-posted the list from an earlier warmup gig where Beyond Love wasn’t played. And that’s the internet for you ; ) “Lies become truth…” ; )

  10. Peter Muscutt says:

    Interesting review Paul – The The are a band I never really got into, but if I’m right in thinking they had a track on the soundtrack of the abysmal 1990s Judge Dredd movie starring Sylvester Stallone… maybe one to explore, can anyone recommend a good starting point? Do they have a career-straddling compilation perhaps?

  11. Graham says:

    I can just about understand people taking a couple of photos at gigs as a memory but I really don’t get why they film huge chunks of songs holding their phones up blocking your view. Do they actually ever watch any of this again?

  12. Glen Buchanan says:

    I love Matt and The The- I was a fan from the 80s here in Canada- my vinyl Soul Mining and a lot of other disks still hit the turntable. Thank you SO MUCH for the review. Well Done!

  13. Matt Thurston says:

    Soul Mining to Infected to Mind Bomb to Dusk is, for me, one of the great four-album runs ever. Impossible for me to rank these four albums. My favorite is whatever I listened to last.

    My entry point for The The was the Infected album, but I didn’t see them live until the Dusk tour in Los Angeles and got to meet Matt Johnson at the upstairs after party. (I also met, weirdly, Lisa Bonet and Billy Zane at the same party… that’s LA for you.) Amazing show. Saw them again in LA on the Naked Self tour. Good, but not great — Naked Self didn’t connect with me, a really mixed bag.) But I can’t wait to see The The again in LA in September. And really hoping for another album — I LOVE “We Can’t Stop What’s Coming,” just an amazing single.

  14. Marcel says:

    Would love to see The The live. Mind Bomb and Infected are very dear te me. Did you know that terrific piano solo in Heartland was played by Steve Hogarth before his Marillion frontman days?

  15. SimonP says:

    Matt’s brother Andy who did all the The The artwork died a couple of years ago, too.

  16. Kauwgompie says:

    Slow Emotional Replay, still one of my all time favorite songs. Just gorgeous in many ways. Would see him live just for that. Thankfully his other stuff is excellent as well. Will see him for sure if he comes to NYC.

  17. Steven Campbell says:

    Jealous! Big fan of The The and in particular the Dusk album. Also loved the last album they did properly too favourite track on it being The Whisperers. Looked like an epic concert.

  18. Mikael says:

    Great read, Infected and Mind Bomb are still great records, and I wonder if we will ever see the fantastic long form video for Infected on any modern medium?
    I had it on VHS, and reading about how it was filmed made it even greater, a true milestone, lost in the vaults.

  19. soundstory says:

    when the 3 London gigs were announced, it had to be the Troxy, RAH too big, Brixton Academy too hot & sweaty especially for a sold out gig in June!

    The Troxy gig was amazing, perhaps one of the best I’ve ever been to.

    Can’t wait for Festival no 6!!

    Now if they manage to finally get Infected The movie released I can die a happy man!

    Like many people that late night Channel 4 showing was my first taste of The The & it would absolutely shine on Blu Ray

  20. Normand says:

    The song PERFECT was not played? I saw The The (opening for Depeche Mode) in September 1993 at the Montreal Forum and the crowd had no respect during their performance, talking, celebrating, impatient until the arrival of Depeche Mode ( that evening, Dave Gahan lost his voice !!!). But the voice and style of Matt Johnson were convincing to me and I managed to stay in my bubble despite all the fuss. And I was thanked because they played my favorite song, PERFECT …

    • T e y o somewhere from the Netherlands says:

      A perfect popsong indeed!
      How I love that 12″ mix, nearly 10 minutes: just top notch!

  21. DaveM says:

    Great review. Saw The The in 89 at Bradford with Johnny Marr on guitar. Have to say it was one of the best gigs I have ever been to.
    As for phones & talking it just pisses me off at gigs these days. No one ever seems to be in a moment anymore, instead sharing their non-experience via crap images & sound with others who are probably not interested.

  22. Mark Reed says:

    Blatant link-posting, but my review is at : http://www.thefinalword.co.uk/content/view/1437/25/

    Brixton was marred by a huge punch up during “Love Is Stronger Than Death”, presumably because someone was yapping very loudly – and someone else didn’t appreciate it. The crowd were very rude and talkative at Brixton.

    • Graham says:

      The punch up was next to me. It was because someone started filming on their phone despite Matt specifically asking people not to. I don’t condone violence but sometimes people do get what’s coming to them.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        That happened to me at the Royal Albert Hall. Rather than punch him, I wearily pointed out to the guy that a) it was annoying and inconsiderate (because he was on my left and I had to look ‘past’ his screen to see the stage) and b) Matt had asked people not to do it. He carried on anyway, so maybe punching was the right approach!!

  23. Gianfranco says:

    Me and my wife flew all the way from Italy to see Rah show and we were completely thrilled by it.
    I agree with the review in that we found the audience, at least for the first part of the show, quite “shy” while us Italians were shouting and dancing along.
    At the end anyway all were involved.
    What stays in our mind is the beauty of Matt’s voice , so deep that it steals your heart out, and his wonderful songs .
    Hope there’s a future for The The with new songs and shows

  24. Heraldo says:

    I’d seen The The on the Mindbomb and Naked Self tours So I knew how good Matt can be with a straight ahead gig. I’d also been lucky enough to see the last show (SBC during the Bowie Meltdown) when he “reformed” early The The with JG Thirlwell in tow doing very different versions of material which explored his less straight-forward approach.
    I’d also recently seen the Inertia Variations documentary where he explored – amongst other things – his withdrawal from being a traditional music artist and his inability and fear to engage with that whole process again. So what struck me greatly was the confidence with which he performed and the ease he seemed to feel.
    As others have said there was a big contrast between the RAH show (quite reserved) and the exuberance and inhibition of the atmosphere and reaction to the Troxy show. I’m not surprised by the statement that that was the band’s favourite.
    I loved the statements that Matt has made regarding the audience keepingvthe songs alive. He seems to get what music means to fans more than many. And he seemed genuinely touched by the response to him stepping back on stage (/onto the treadmill).
    It was great that he sought to play such a diverse range of songs incredibly dusting-off material from “Burning Blue Soul” and the wonderful “Flesh and Bones” from an old Some Bizzarre comp. I’d only have been happier if something from the legendary (and never released) albums like “Gun Sluts” had been aired.
    Looking forward to more from the reinvigorated Mr Johnson (new and reissued). A man deserving of the attention and admiration.

  25. AdamW says:

    I have such fond memories of The The, and I enjoyed them immensely when they opened for Depeche Mode. But I had to unsubscribe from Matt’s Twitter, due to all the Russian propaganda he retweets. I understand his distrust of official UK and US government mouthpieces, and I get that point of view entirely – healthy skepticism is necessary, and frequently anger is appropriate. But to pretend that Russia is not just as engaged in similar disgusting self-servicing propaganda, and to act like Russia Today is a source of truth, is very, very sad to me. It’s like he fell for everything he said he was against.

    Most artists I like disagree with me politically about something, and that’s OK, and I don’t mind being challenged to think. But parroting Russian propaganda is dangerous in this day and age, and it’s an issue I just can’t get past.

    I’m surprised there are still seats available for the one The The show in my town (tickets went on sale weeks ago), but I’m going to look back fondly at the body of work he created, and leave it at that.

  26. Robert says:

    It annoys me how inconsiderate concert goers have become. Its not just the younger generation , which I can understand because being on their god forsaken phones is all they know, but the older ones know a time when going to a show was a big deal. But now their lives have been taken over by their cell phones. Jack White received alot of flak for his no cell phone policy but it works. Honestly watching the audience at his shows is like a step back in time.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Totally agree regarding Jack White. I was at the show in Brooklyn and it was superb. The funny thing is, *not* having photos of the gig also adds to experience, as contradictory as that sounds. The memories have to percolate in the mind a bit more and because you *have* to remember it and not just look at photos, the whole event somehow gets elevated a bit, in your brain. It helps when the gig is amazing of course, as Jack White was!!

      • Gareth Pugh says:

        At a recent Blancmange gig at Under the Bridge in Chelsea, Neil Arthur cheerily confiscated someone’s mobile from near the stage and didn’t give it back til during the encores.

  27. Dalebanon says:

    In The Netherlands some venues started to hand out lollipops so one give them to people near you who can’t keep their mouth shut….
    Surely an idea from a dentist.

  28. unique says:

    RAH was my favourite show, but then it was my first time seeing them play live in 18 years. Brixton dipped a bit as they had sound issued, but Troxy’s performance was great, and the bands favourite of the 3 nights. I thought the setlist was great, and the Burning Blue Soul material was great, miles better than the album versions. Uncertain Smile at Troxy was the best version I’ve heard. Hopefully the bluray gets a release, and hopefully I’m included in it as I did a piece to camera with Tim Pope before the gig. BTW Matt mentioned on Saturday he was talking to Sony about SE’s of Infected and VS the World, so hopefully we get them on bluray. New bio is out too, and it’s pretty good so far.

  29. Nowhereman says:

    I notice a couple of people mentioning the audience talking during the Brixton gig. This seems to be quite common now. What is it with audiences these days? Filming on your phone I hate but i can understand why people do it. Talking though. Why spend £50 or whatever on a ticket and then talk through it? Do people just go to gigs now in order to say that they have been there rather than to actually listen to the music?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Totally agree… and it’s not easy to tell people to shut up either, because in their eyes you’re violating their human rights, or something…

    • Robbie says:

      That’s why I don’t go to concerts anymore. I hate this whole atmosphere of People talking in Groups or talking on their phone or running this way and that way to buy a beer or even something to eat.
      I don’t want to say “When I was young …” but I Need to say that when I was young People went to see the Show and listen to the Songs. They were able to survive 100 minutes without a beer, and were able to keep their mouth shut. It completely disrespectful to the Artist.
      I see no reason to pay 70 euro or more to get that Kind of “Entertainment”.

    • Ian Hicks says:

      Talking, filming and constant drinking is ruining a lot of gigs for me these days and to be honest it’s my generation (50 somethings) that are the bloody worst. I find Brixton the worst venue for this as well.

      • Gareth Pugh says:

        Much as I love The Roundhouse in Camden on many levels, that too seems to suffer particularly badly from chatter-itis. If you stand outside the ring of iron pillars you may as well be in a busy Wetherspoons on a particularly crowded night – once you’re stood anywhere near their bars, you really can’t get ‘into’ the gig for all the hubbub.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          The Roundhouse is a lovely building and is historic, other than that I hate it as a venue for the reasons you have outlined. The floor is also very flat, unlike the Brixton Academy with its raked floor, so it’s not easy to see over people. I always end up near those bloody pillars!

  30. Reed says:

    Going to see the USA leg of the tour and I cannot wait. The RAH 1990 taping that became The The Vs. The World will always be one of my favorites.

  31. Metal Mickey says:

    I’m sorry I missed these gigs. I was put off by a very disappointing gig in 20o0 promoting the Naked Self album (their/his worst by quite a margin IMHO), but the setlist for this tour is nigh-on perfect, and the reviews suggest the band are doing the songs justice…

  32. Richard says:

    Having been to the RAH shows in 1990 too, it was always going to be hard to top those amazing shows but it was going to special whatever given how long it has been.
    I went to all three London shows and the best was probably the Troxy, RAH was a little too formal and subdued and Brixton was pretty roudy and marred by poor sound sadly.
    Whether it was being in his neighbourhood or the fact it was the last of the “trilogy” the band (and crowd) were way more engaged and the sound was excellent.
    The little cameo by Zeke Manyeka was nice too.
    It was exactly the same setlist every night which was a little disappointing and due to limitations of band set up certain songs didn’t quite work (beaten generation, too slow, sweet bird, lacking menace and beyond love lacked the albums emotional core) but otherwise it was fantastic. Hopefully they might add some more songs come the autumn shows.
    Good news according to to the q&a he did at weekend that negations are underway with Sony for dvd/blu Ray reissues of the Infected and Vs The World!

  33. sutekh101 says:

    Superb band, very underrated but wonderfully unique and intelligent. I saw The The at Reading Festival in 1993 promoting ‘Dusk’ which I believe was the band’s most commercially successful album (and a fine album it is but ‘Soul Mining’ to this day is a desert island disk of mine). Rather surprised that ‘Dusk’ hasn’t been re-released on vinyl…

  34. Daniel says:

    Great review! I’m looking forward to the video release! I wanted to see one of the US shows but they are nowhere near me and ill timed for travel. I did get to see the Mind Bomb tour with Johnny Marr in Atlanta, which was amazing!! I also saw them open for Depeche Mode in Florida after Dusk.

    • Thomas Abbott says:

      I was at that show in Atlanta myself, wonderful show. I still have a tour shirt that can’t wear anywhere in public. I’d love to see some video from that tour as well as a DVD or Blu-ray release of the Infected videos. A surround mix on any off his albums would be appreciated as well!

  35. Gary Fowles says:

    Glad to see Dogs of Lust in the set list. Live that is still one of their best songs for me. Nice review Paul.

  36. Cindy says:

    I’m seeing them in September in NYC. Looking forward to it but love how they ask that people don’t take photos, yet the official The The Twitter account keeps re-tweeting fans’ photos and maybe a video or two. Sh*t or get off the pot I say, if you want to have a rule, don’t encourage the opposite.

  37. RJS says:

    Excellent review! I still regularly give ‘Mind Bomb’ a spin.

  38. Ed Jones says:

    A great review, Paul.

    I attended the following night’s gig at Brixton Academy, and was equally bemused by the audience response – some were clearly in raptures, but (quite a large number of) others simply chatted throughout. The setlist was the same as at RAH, and I must admit to being a little disappointed by the bias away from Soul Mining, Infected and Mind Bomb, although I suspect the limitations of the 5-piece line-up meant that some songs on these production-heavy albums would demand significant re-arrangement in order to “work” live. Looking at the demography of those standing immediately around me at the gig, it wouldn’t surprise me if many others felt the same. That said – barnstorming versions of Infected (well played here, in spite of the aforementioned limitations) and Uncertain Smile were definite highlights and serve, I believe, as evidence as to what could have been achieved had the band opted to play more from what many consider to be The The’s “imperial” (to steel a designation from the Pet Shop Boys) phase. It is great to welcome Matt back to the music scene, though. Nostalgia aside, his outspoken views and unique songcraft have been sorely missed and I look forward to the prospect of new material with interest. I had no idea the RAH show was being filmed, so something else for fans to look forward to!

    • Graham says:

      I was at Brixton as well.

      I don’t think you are ever going to get a conventional greatest hits set from Matt Johnson. I enjoyed the choice of songs and also that some of them were different from the recorded version.

      It was irritating that some people talked a lot throughout the gig especially on the quieter songs.

      Great to have him back and hopefully this encourages him to record again with more gigs.

  39. Tony Orwell says:

    Great review, I remember going to the RAH to see TheThe I think at the end of the 80’s and had a great night, sweet bird of truth is still one of my favorite tracks and he did a belter that night.

  40. Nigel says:

    I am eagerly awaiting the big reveal as to whom this review refers

  41. Ralph says:

    Great review Paul. I’m looking forward to seeing one of the Glasgow shows.

  42. Darren Briscoe says:

    I was fortunate enough to see The The in Brixton in 1989 and the RAH in 1990 . I thought I’d never see them again….especially as I moved to California six years ago!
    I cannot believe I am going to see them again on September 27th in San Francisco!!! Not only that but I also have tickets for Johnny Marr three days earlier in my home town of Santa Cruz!! Interestingly Marr plays in San Francisco on September 26th and is off on the 27th….dare we hope for a special guest appearance???!!!
    All we need now is a new album…and a Blu-ray release of Infected the movie!

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