By Sunday, I was really starting to feel the effects of trying to do a music festival with a bad cold, and so I sort of staggered through the day powered by a lot of Lemsip Max Strength! I’d given up drinking by this point as well, which meant the drunks in the venue were even more annoying.
The Butlins cooked breakfast hadn’t done it for me the day before, so I went for a giant stack of pancakes on the Sunday morning, which was marginally tastier. Geth and I then went back to the hotel room and groggily took ages getting showers and things, so we were a little late into the Centre Stage for the Sunday afternoon session and the first band had already started.
Bands I didn’t see on day 3: nobody, because it was just stand-up comedy in the Reds bar on the Sunday, so I didn’t have to miss any bands!
Bands I did see on day 3:
Black Box were mainly doing their late ’80s/early ’90s dance classics, but there was a good highlight where they did a mash-up of Sweet Dreams and Seven Nation Army with the vocals from the former over the bassline of the latter. They also (obviously) finished with Ride On Time, which was much appreciated by the crowd!
Big Country get super major plus points for being the only band of the weekend with the balls to make a ‘Hi-De-Hi’ gag. Great stuff. I was also excited to tick off the first of the ‘message’ artists on my Band Aid baby bucket list!
Otherwise it was a very enjoyable hit-laden set – with Look Away, Wonderland, and Fields Of Fire (complete with an interesting interpolation of Whiskey In The Jar) all present and correct! In another example of the Butlins stage managers not being able to deal with bands trying to do encores, the band went offstage and the DJ launched into Heaven 17’s Temptation (at which point I expressed my surprise to Geth that the band hadn’t done In A Big Country and Geth shrugged and went off to the bar to get us another drink)…and then Temptation abruptly cut out and the band came back on. ‘We are Heaven 17!’ announced Bruce Watson wryly, before we finally got our rendition of In A Big Country. I have no idea what’s going on with Butlins and their aversion to encores.
We then had a good long break before the evening session, which gave us some recovery time to have a bit of a doze.
Peter Hook & The Light
We’d already seen Peter Hook & The Light at Infest this year, but as I’ve alluded to, the crowd at Electric Dreams is a vastly different type of audience. As such, it was a subtly different show, with more of an end-of-term party atmosphere – Hooky, resplendent in a Christmas T-shirt, explained that it was their last gig of the year, and we got the first (but strangely not the last) of the evening’s Jimmy Savile jokes. Geth went down to the front of the stage while I kept the seats, and from where I was sitting, it just felt really, really weird when the crowd didn’t react at all to the band launching into Joy Division classics like Transmission (especially as I last saw the band at a goth festival with lots of other goths, a subculture in which the Joy Division stuff is absolutely sacrosanct). Geth reported after the set that from his viewpoint near the front of the stage, the band pretty much phoned in the first couple of Joy Division songs until they realised that there was a small group of people down the front who were actually fans, after which they did things properly.
The audience all went nuts for Blue Monday though, so that’s something! Hooky also did the gag about turning the lights up on the crowd and then immediately going ‘argh, no!’, which would probably have been funnier if Big Country hadn’t done the exact same joke earlier that day.
The set was pretty much the same as when I saw them at Infest, except for there being a couple of extra New Order songs – they did Regret, which is one of my absolute favourites (I had it on my Greatest Hits of 1993 album when I was eight). It was also great to hear Temptation again, because the music geek in me was thrilled that it was the first of two famous Temptations we’d hear that night…
…because Heaven 17 were headlining, and they were hardly going to avoid playing their Temptation, were they?
Before the inevitable closing song, though, we got all the classics – (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang, Come Live With Me, Let Me Go – and a lot of very funny stage banter between Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory, who’ve been doing this stuff for nearly forty years and have moved firmly into ‘old married couple’ territory. This included another Jimmy Savile gag (apparently he introduced their first Top of the Pops appearance) and some slightly risqué Morecambe and Wise references.
There was a cover of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, which is another song that’s a bit of a theme for covers at the moment. They also played Being Boiled, which was the Human League’s biggest hit while Martyn Ware was still with the band – which meant that in the space of five days, Geth and I managed to see Being Boiled performed by both the Human League and Heaven 17! Geth preferred the Human League performance, while I gave the edge to Heaven 17. Both brilliant and very different though!
I enjoyed the performance so much that I was really surprised when they launched into Temptation to finish the set – it honestly felt to me like they’d only been playing for about five minutes. I’m so thrilled I got to see them, and not just because it means more artists ticked off my Band Aid baby bucket list! I’ll make sure to get tickets again when they’re next on tour.
Afterwards, Geth and I finished our drinks and sloped off to get some rest. All in all, it was a fantastic weekend of music and the bands were great…it was just a shame we had to go to Butlins to see them.