Adorable’s 25th Anniversary Show – Bush Hall, London

 

Somewhere the spring of 1993 I was walking down the street in Amsterdam and I bumped into a bunch of lost guys that asked me the way to the Melkweg Venue. I showed them, and as a die-hard indie chick being well-aware of them being Adorable, I said “Ok guys see you tonight!” Then singer Pete asked me if I wanted to be on the guest-list, to which I laconically replied “I’m already on it!” The others laughed at him.

This was my first encounter with the legendary Creation Records band Adorable: a band launched at an unfortunate timing somewhere lodged in between Shoegaze and Britpop. They had a sound that was distinctly theirs, but it didn’t really fit the criteria of either of the aforementioned movements, which made it hard for them to grow a solid fanbase. They were subsequently blown away by whirlwind that was Oasis (plus circumstances at their label & issues within the band, see Adorable – Interview) into what seemed like oblivion for a while. Then social media happened and Karma is a Bitch.

Photo courtesy of Naomi Hiura

The night before the last show in Brussels in 1994, they did another gig in Amsterdam (in the meantime I bumped into them a few more times) and Pete told me they were splitting up and this was the end. I tried to convince him that there was something unique about the combination of the 4 of them: Kevin‘s jaunty drumming was getting better and better, Wil’s epic bass-lines (Homeboy need I say more!), Robert’s delicately detailed guitar melodies and Pete, the ultimate indie crooner and above all: a natural-born icon and superb lyricist. He simply said “Yeah, but you are biased“. My favourite band was splitting up. It was just a bitter pill I had to swallow and like so many thing in life: out of my hands…

Then, along the timespan of some 20 odd years, we had a massive shoegaze revival and most of the bands from that era reunited and did shows. Adorable kept saying “nah… not going there“, something I appreciated because I really dislike reunions: they kinda burst my nostalgic bubble. But I guess the whole social media circus has made them aware of the fact that people from all over the world actually knew them, heard them and … loved them. Then on May 7th this year an announcement was posted at the Adorable page on FB: “To celebrate the 25th anniversary of our last ever show in Brussels in November 1994 we are reforming this autumn in our original line up, and then promptly splitting up again 3 days later.” Mayhem ensued and tickets were sold out at the blink of an eye. It was a given: Adorable were going to change/correct the course of history with the help of us old and quite a few newly acquired and steadily multiplying fans.

It seemed to take forever, but for me, the night was finally there on Saturday Nov 2 at Bush Hall/ London. I’d heard some snippets of rehearsals and reactions from the 3 preceding shows, and based on this and my past experience (seeing them 3 times before) I knew to expect nothing but class. Other than that I had an open mind to be honest. I instantly noticed 1 big difference with the 90’s shows: a lack of a sense of fun or playfulness. This all seemed very well-prepared/ thought-out: a momentous, symbolic thing. Despite the fact that they played everyone’s favourites, (Sunshine Smile, Homeboy, A To Fade In, Sistine Chapel Ceiling and Favourite Fallen Idol – not mine grrr) got everyone to sing along and bounce up and down like teenagers and move some to tears, I felt an underlying tension. No one talked nor interacted until well into the show. All band-members were really into their old “role”: Robert the bouncing ball, Wil the stoic with the dead-eye-stare, and Pete the cocky poser. It was almost like looking at a dynamic Still Life (which they didn’t play btw); an old photograph that moves like the ones in Harry Potter. We were all staring at it happening, unfolding, entranced, bopping along to the irresistible sounds blasting off the stage, expecting something, some revelation, satisfaction or closure to it all. Then Pete finally talked and everything suddenly made sense. He explained: this was it! There were no future plans, no more shows after the last one the next day. This was a snapshot of Adorable as they were, a patch on the gap that was left years ago, the plaster on an open wound. This was about reliving and celebrating the past, but most of all, a moment in the here and now. A moment to enjoy without any hopes, ponderings or repercussions. We witnessed an image of Saint Pete who finally saw and understood that he was/is adored after all. He got it. We got it. We took it in. We accepted. And let go…

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