Wednesday, Paul was on IM all morning gushing about how great Rice had been at Hammersmith the night before. I related this to Roz and said how jealous I was, and she said 'oh, do you want me to see if Debbie has any spare tickets?'. A short while later Paul and I both had free tickets to go along. Result!
The gig was at Scala, which is absolutely tiny, and was invite-only as it was being recorded for XFM. Seeing him in such a small venue was a real treat, although a lot of the crowd seemed to have just been there because it was free - they spent the entire time networking and chatting.
His backing singer, Lisa Hannigan, was missing - apparently she's left the band. Some joker in the crowd shouted a question about where she was, which made Rice go off into a bit of a muddled speech about personal lives and how hard it is to be in a band - he didn't seem to happy. He sang her parts himself in most of the songs, which was a bit weird but worked well enough.
The whole gig was a bit strange, really. The band all seemed tired from the night before and the crowd weren't too well-behaved. I got the impression that they'd been roped into doing this radio session and weren't really approaching it like a proper gig. Rice did say he liked playing a small venue for a change, but I don't know how much his heart was in the whole thing.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, of course. I was really into it, and spent the whole time staring intently at the stage and nodding my head in time, proper Guardian-reader style.
In restrospect I think we were a bit rude to Debbie. She'd given us free tickets and all she got before the gig was a cursory 'hi there'. I'd meant to thank her properly after the gig but she disappeared off early so I just ended up looking really ungrateful, oh well.