Ok, so the strains of “Fear of the Dark (Live)” are entirely usual for us. The greatest live song ever recorded is a fitting end to any gig, and as we file out of Eddies tonight we do so singing that as it is blasting out of the tannoy – just as Dave McPherson had said Maiden would when he finished.
If that was normal, though, rewind five minutes and life was rather odd. Because you see, just before Maiden, we were watching a man with an acoustic guitar play “Boom Shake The Room” by Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, and even more astonishingly, we were joining in.
In truth this evening had been rather odd all round, when they arrived on stage McPherson and his band The Make Believe, which includes drummer Simon Taylor, from InME, the band that made the singer (moderately) famous, do so wearing pajamas and slippers, still we are all for a relaxed gig around here, so fair play to them.
In town (and to be honest pretty much any week of the year, McPherson is on tour) to promote his new album “Dreamoirs,” the follow up to his “Heardship Diaries” record from 2011, a lilting and you suspect, deeply personal affair, this is the last night of a short tour with a band, which all have clearly enjoyed.
They begin, after telling us they are here to party, with a track from the new record in “Snowball” before a slightly reworked version of “Hearts Need Blood,” which in common with all the “….Dairies” songs that are played are given a different slant by being played as a band.
The rest of the show follows the same pattern, with “Before I Even Had You” sounding superb, but the most abiding thing that comes over again and again is just how much McPherson loves playing these songs and just how grateful he is that anyone has turned up at all.
“Dreamoirs” has been released as a Pledge Music event, the internet site that really came to the fore when Ginger released 555% and the CD went into the charts. Like The Wildhearts man, McPherson appears to really appreciate the chance he has been given – indeed he tells a story of what happened when InMe were dropped by their label and he had to get a day job – and there is nothing of the “rock star” about him at all. He gives the impression that if he wasn’t on stage he would be with us watching.
After 75 minutes the band disappears and for three songs it is just one man and his acoustic. There is a cover of Roy Orbision’s “In Dreams” and the closing with the aforementioned rap …urmm….”classic.” In between we get “Love Rats,” a brilliant song which spotlights everything that is good about the artist, clever lyrics, sung with passion and the chance to lay his soul bare – it is all that a singer/songwriter should be.
As Fear of the Dark kicks in with the 80,000 people doing the whoa, whoa part, you can’t help but feel pleased for McPherson. If anyone deserves to succeed it is him.
A man that walks alone, as Maiden might say.