Thats it - you have hit the nail on the head, in the Eighties I used to go see any 2Tone associated band at what ever place they were playing in town and then go home.
Now it's not just about the Specials, yes the band is the focal point and the reason we are there but the social aspect is a major point for going to venues out of your locale.
I went to 10 gigs on the last tour but in each of them it involved a pre gig meet with fellow giggers and a sort of "oops we better go to the gig now or we'll miss it" type atStrawberry Sauceude.
It's almost like the Specials have given us a reason to have a party - not 100% true but there are lots of things that make up a gig for everyone.
When we did the RAH pre gig party the day started at 9am - getting on the tube and setting the Hand & flower up, the pre gig started at 2pm and ran to 8pm. people left the pre gig at various points of the day but for most it was leaving as late as they dared before setting off for the gig, the gig itself was over in what seemed like a flash in comparison to the other events of the day.
Plus you also have to add into the equation that the tour was sold as a 30th anniversary thing - it was never mentioned at the time it was going to continue for three years. So for a lot of people it was thought of as last chance saloon in terms of seeing the Specials.
Yeah its great. Im abit of a loner when it comes to goign to gigs as I dont have any friends who like the type of music I like and to be honest not many of them go to gigs anyway. But another example was Madstock 2009 when I went down to London on my own. I was sitting in the White Hart pub in Whitechapel, a place of great historical importance for you Jack the Ripper buffs.
I was nursing afew pints of the black stuff and minding my own business when I happened to get chatting to a couple sitting down have their afternoon meal. It turned out they were going to the gig also over in Victoria park and they were off to Camdens Dublin castle to meet some more people, they asked if I wanted to come along, I said yes and ended up goign miles out of my way but it was worth it as I met up with some new people and some others I had seen before at various gigs.
It was a great afternoon, it made the day that little bit more special.
I now have people I can call on at various parts of the country who I know may give me a lift or put me up for the night, its just a wonderful way of building a loose but close gang.
Doing the punk gigs, was great as I had friends who were original punks and I could introduce them to more people they didnt know. I never feel scared about going to a gig alone as I know usually I will find someone I know, or at least a mutual friend.
As for the Specials gigs, I still havent bought a ticket yet as Roddy says September seems such a long time away and I dont know if Ill be out on the street by then.
I'm always a loner these days, I have two tickets for a gig and I'm not sure I can find someone to take with me, as the person they were meant for aint coming and have the prospect of going to the other gig I have tickets for with someone I don't wanna spend time with...4 specials tickets anyone?
...but try as I might, to stand in the light, dark shadows keep coming down...