Sheffield has its fair share of music legends and I’ve seen them all, but I’ve never felt as truly blessed as I did to bear witness to Reverend and the Makers, writes Graham Walker.
I joined the 4,000-plus congregation, over two sold out nights at Sheffield’s O2 Academy, as the band played a staggering 43 different songs, That’s all four albums in full,
And, as if that wasn’t enough, after the first show ‘The Rev’, frontman Jon McClure, went outside for a free sing-a-long and 2,000 people turned up.
Some were those who couldn’t get tickets for the shows. Most were fans who simply couldn’t get enough, including hard-core supporters who flew in from as far away as Russia.
In amazing scenes, which will go down in Sheffield music folklore, Jon belted out an acoustic version of A Message to You, Rudy, made famous by The Specials.
VIDEO: Press ther play button to watch weekend highlights, chats with band frontman Jon McClure and his seven-months pregnant wife, keyboards and trumpet playing bandmate Laura.
Inside the building fans got two albums each night, beginning with French Kiss In The Chaos, then first album, The State Of Things. Saturday started with fourth album, Thirty Two and finished with @Reverend_Makers.
The running order was a bit like watching Star Wars, all out of sequence. But in its own way it worked a treat and created second half showstoppers, to the delight of the band’s self-proclaimed Rev Army
The ‘nutters’, as charismatic straight-talking leader Jon affectinately calls them, were ordered to bounce.
And bounce they did.
In fact Rev-quakes threatened to bring the house down, as the balcony jumped up and down with them. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for structural engineers to give the place the once over, just to be safe,
Fans loved it of course, along with the mosh pit madness, as dazzling lights turned the venue into a a blazing spectacular and hit followed hit.
Many, many highlights included crowd pleasers Miss Brown, Open Your Window, Out Of The Shadows, Shine The Light, The Devil’s Radio and Different Trains. A particular favourite was the haunting Yes You Do.
But it was the bouncing ‘bangers’ which fans love best. Bassline would have been the top tune, if not for the band’s biggest knockout puch of all, Heavyweight Champion Of The World.
Superstitious Jon can’t remember a gig when he didn’t perform it, he told fans the second night. So he played it again as a special encore.
The shows came to an end with the only other repeated track of the weekend, the song which started the 10-years celebration 24-hours earlier, Silence Is Talking.
This really was an indie rock masterclass from Jon and his disciples, seven-months pregnant keyboard and trumpet playing missus Laura, guitarist Ed Cosens, who is also to become a dad, bassist Joe Carnall and drummer Ryan Jenkinson.
What they performed was as much a ‘religious’ experience as a gig and I, for one, was in heaven. Prayers answered.
* Both nights were recorded for two live albums, priced £15 each, to be dispatched this Friday, October 31, 2014. For order details see www.concertlive.co.uk.