Watching Kaiser Chiefs At Elland Road

Before we start check the title again – this is NOT a gig review. The reason for this is that it wasn’t a day that I was particularly tuned in but more just feeling the love and atmosphere. However, it was awesome and I want to remember it forever for personal reasons. So hence this post.

The day was wet and most of it was spent with me soaked at the barrier but thankfully the sun did make an appearance which also meant the atmosphere picked up.

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Credit: Nadia Sokolova

Before the Chiefs were a bunch of awesome artists who I am not going to write about in this post but they made the day just as much as the KCs did so check them out. They were Marsicans, Skinny Living, Gaz Coombes, The Sherlocks and The Vaccines.

By the time nine o’clock came I had been standing at the barrier for seven hours – being squished against it for three of those – which was what it was. For me, I find all that anxiety inducing but by this point I was determined to get myself through it. I was isolated, in pain but so hyped to see my favourite band play to twenty thousand people.

When the time came it was ex-footballer and now famous pundit Chris Kamara who introduced the band onto the stage after conducting the crowd in a rendition of “Marching On Together” – it was a LUFC celebration after all. I was slightly worried when he started reeling off the band members’ names that he would forget someone but he got through the list and Dire Straights’ “Money For Nothing” started to play loudly. The crowd were hollering, eager for the five blokes to come on out and start their set – I was no exception.

There was a roar when they eventually stepped out, all with big grins on their faces and acknowledging their audience each in their own way. Frontman Ricky Wilson hurtled along the front from one end of the stage to another getting the crowd prepared for the show they were about to put on.

Credit: Juliet Wells

Straight away I noticed a different sort of energy exuding from the band. It was the thirteenth time I was seeing them live but this was super important to them which was evident.

They opened with new yet-to-be-released song, “People Know How To Love One And Other” and I was immediately thrown by the change in lyrics to when I heard it last summer. It definitely caught me out that’s for sure when I was singing different words to what Rick was singing on stage. It is a great song which I hear is being released very soon. This was followed by two which the crowd were very familiar with, “Never Miss A Beat” and “Everything Is Average Nowadays”. Very quickly I began to feel a rush.

During these two songs, Simon was having troubles with his bass. Which obviously wasn’t ideal especially because NMAB is a very bass heavy track but they covered it up really well.

My attention was all on this so I missed the active frontman ripping his “keks” as he poetically put it afterwards. My friend down the barrier tried to get my attention and shout to me what had happened but I thought she said, “Ricky has pissed his pants” not “Ricky has ripped his pants”. This led to me being very confused until I heard someone else about twenty minutes later comment on his ripped trousers. In hind sight it was very funny.

With a now fully functioning bass setup “Na Na Na Na Naa” was definitely music to my ears as the crowd went absolutely mental. It is an easy track to get crazy to and the lyrics are perfect for a festival setting.

My favourite new track which I heard back on their UK tour last February was “Golden Oldies”. It is a song which was stuck in my head for weeks and weeks afterwards; I was hoping they would release it. But no.

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Made After Tour Finished

It was great to hear it again and I am looking forward to it being released on their seventh studio album. This was followed by “Factory Gates” from their fifth and “Parachute” from their sixth.

Hearing everyone clapping along with Peanut during the opening of “Modern Way” was strangely satisfying. They removed the popular track from their UK tour setlist which was gutting at the time so I was pleased to hear it once more. During this song, Rick jumped off stage and ran through the crowd to a scaffolding tower in the middle of the football pitch. Due to my both my shortness and how squashed I was against the barrier I didn’t bother turning to try and see but instead kept my eyes fixed on the stage and the screens.

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Credit: Sara Potter

I keep talking about how immense the atmosphere was and being shoved by the crowd but a feeling that I can still go back to because I remember it so vividly was when they played new song “Target Market” and a sense of calmness washed over Elland Road. Rick was still up the scaffolding at this point and I was still facing the stage watching the rest of the band who were playing with a look of serenity. It was such an inexplicably beautiful moment which I can still feel.

The song itself I wasn’t taken to when I heard it back in February but actually now I appreciate it so much more. In fact, I cannot get it out of my end. This is slightly problematic as it hasn’t been released but also it is not because just thinking about it and that moment instantly chills me out.

It was a necessary moment of calm. It gave me a chance to breathe, collect my thoughts; it properly dawned on me what was happening and where I was. I couldn’t help but smile.

Whilst Whitey’s guitar was being change from an electric to an acoustic ready for “Love’s Not A Competition (But I’m Winning)” Rick was sat expectantly on a speaker looking up at the stage. He had made his way back during the end of “Target Market” but now he was sporting a look eagerness, perhaps slight annoyance, as he wanted to get going again. I’ve since seen a video online of an idiotic crowd dweller trying to trip him up on his walk back which could explain the look. A chilled one replaced it when the guitar started up.

When the opening to their latest single, “Record Collection” began to play I was thrilled as it is a song that I had yet to hear live. I surprised myself about how much of the lyrics I know – then again it has been playing on repeat for the past few weeks. It sounds ace.

During the great jumping song that is “Hole In My Soul” I got distracted by the fuss in the pit as security were grouped together most likely discussing something that was happening in the crowd but this led to a pumped up Rick telling them to move in one way or another. So that was fun. Anyway, moving on.

Credit: Juliet Wells

There was some clever planning when it came to the setlist. I mean obviously they must have talked at length about ordering and what songs to include – in fact I know the dates running up to last Saturday they altered their set a lot so no-one really knew what to expect when it came to this huge Elland Road show.

They were ready to get the crowd going bananas once again and my god they turned it up a notch. Playing “Everyday I Love You Less And Less” followed by “Ruby” and then, “I Predict A Riot”, “Angry Mob” and “Retirement” was a stroke of genius. I’ve never heard Riot sung/chanted so loud before it was brilliantly barmy. Ballistic (in a good way).

During the burst of fucking mental songs it hit me how dehydrated I was but trying to get water from security was slightly challenging after Rick had told them to in no uncertain terms to fuck off but thankfully due to the togetherness of the crowd, people further down the barrier flagged someone down for me and I was good to go again.

The encore came and the band were welcomed back on stage by the crowd who sounded like they didn’t want it to end. I certainly didn’t.

Credit: Juliet Wells

At this point, my voice was starting to strain and my throat was sore but this didn’t stop me singing. I felt myself getting emotional during “Coming Home”, maybe because I was watching my favourite band play in their home city or maybe it was because their set was nearing an end. It was lucky they then turned to their version of The Who‘s “Pinball Wizard”.

When the frantic keyboard playing by Peanut chimed up for the beginning of “Oh My God” I knew this was the end. I am not sure how long they played this particular version for but it flew by all too quickly.

We were all showered in confetti to the point of not being able to see – my sister asked me when I returned home if I took any from the venue and I said no. Little did I know that a single piece of white confetti somehow found its way into my suitcase. I guess you haven’t been to a Kaiser Chiefs gig if you don’t return with random bits of paper stuck to you.

Credit: Michelle Sutch

So that was Kaiser Chiefs at Elland Road. At this point I am still feeling a buzz and finding more bruises. Must have been a good one!

You may think it is weird for someone like me to say that they are proud of bunch forty-ish year old men but I am. I have already mentioned how many times I have seen them perform but this was so different. They showed how much they still want it. They were so pumped up. It was a different sort of energy – an energy which I don’t think I’ve ever seen from them before. It made me remember why I fell in love with them in the first place. Simple as.

I am also proud of myself. Sounds odd I know but let me explain.

When I first saw them live it was actually also at a stadium but in Coventry and back then I was even anxious to do seated. Crazy I know! Going to their gigs have been stepping stones in a way to gaining confidence – started with two small events and then building to standing at an arena…at a festival…and then this. It hasn’t necessarily been an easy ride, I have struggled at times at their gigs but this has made me stronger and more confident.

I can tell you without a shadow of doubt if it weren’t for these experiences then this blog wouldn’t exist. I wouldn’t be able to go to all these gigs I go to whether it is to review or for leisure. I also wouldn’t be doing the degree I am about to start in September because this love of live music in particular started because of them.

So shout out to the Chiefs man.

They’ve got an album coming called “DUCK” which is out on the 26th July. Please go and pre-order/pre-save they’ve worked very hard on this one. But also, if you’ve made it to the end of this post then thank you for reading!

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