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Chameleons - London Dingwalls, 13/11/2002

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 20 / 11 / 2002



Chameleons - London Dingwalls, 13/11/2002

intro

Anthony Strutt catches the reformed 80's group Chameleons on "perfect" form in London, and enjoys one of the "best shows" that he has ever seen


Since their reformation in 2000, the Chameleons have been the best live band that I have ever witnessed, always playing intense set of pure beauty about real life and real times. For those of you who don't know the band, they are Mark Burgess on vocals and bass ; Reg Smithies on guitar : Dave Fielding on guitar and keyboards and John Lever on drums. Since they reformed they have been assisted on keyboards and vibes by one Kwasi Asante. In the period between 1983 and 1987, they released 3 legendary albums, 2 on Statik, 'Script of the Bridge' (1983) and 'What Does Anything Mean Basically ?' (1985), and one on Geffen, 'Strange Times' (1987). With those three albums, they built up a reputation as being the best band ever from Manchester, and have a hardcore fan base that never forgot them. Yes, I do love Joy Division and the Smiths, but the Chameleons have always meant just that bit more to me. Tonight, I am on a bit of a high, having seen the Cure in Hamburg 5 days before. Mark Burgess also attended that gig and told me that he thought that they were absolutely "awesome", a word that I would also to describe the Chameleons. As soon as we get to the venue, Mark comes over and has a quick and friendly chat, having recognised us as familiar faces in the crowd. He also joins the 2 piece folk support band, and knocks out 'Beat the Boat' from his first solo album, 'Zima Junction' (1993). After a number of beers, we work our way down to the front for what will for me personally be one of the best shows of my life. The crowd tonight is well up for it with fans travelling from all over the country for this one off gig, which finds the band back in Britain after a month long tour of the U.S.A. and then another 3 weeks in Germany. The band come on with Dave Fielding on keyboards to open with 'Swamp Thing' from 'Strange Times'. Mark greets us " Hello, you people. Is it you ? Or it it just me ? You have changed a bit, haven't you ? For the better, I would say. Hello everyone." And then we are off. By the second song, there is a mosh pit where Mark tells the crowd to "be easy". It is not until their sixth song, 'Dangerous Land', that the band play anything from their 4th studio album (2001) at which point Mark tells us "this is something from our last studio album, 'Why Call It Anything ?' You can't find it anywhere and noone is gonna buy it any how." I think that is a shame as it is just as fine a record as the 3 original 80's albums. 'Indiana' first previewed on the comeback acoustic album, 'Strip' (2000), is dedicated to "all the dominant women in the world". There were just too many great songs for there to be a highlight. After 'Perfume Garden', Mark lets us know that we can show those Americans how to mosh, but there are some people down the front getting crushed. 'Caution' follows with a warning "Be careful what you do". 'Second Skin' is sung back to the band by the crowd. For the one song encore, after a perfect 90 minute set, Mark, Dave, Reg, John and Kwasi tell us " we are going to do our favourite punk band. This is by Alternative TV" (whom I saw support them back in '86). The band rip through 'Splitting in 2'. It is like a hurricane has blasted through Camden on this cold Wednesday night. They then move from this briefly into Joy Division's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', before leaving the stage. Perfect gig. Perfect band. Set List : Swamp Thing A Person isn't Safe Anywhere These Days Pleasure and Pain Here Today Less than Human Dangerous Land Intrigue in Tangiers Anyone Alive Indiana Tears Souls in Isolation Perfume Garden Caution Second Skin Splitting in 2/Love Will Tear Us Apart



Picture Gallery:-
Chameleons - London Dingwalls, 13/11/2002


Chameleons - London Dingwalls, 13/11/2002



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