In 1980 I shelled out 99p on a second-hand album at J and J Records, Hatfield. Last night I slogged my way through tube-strike-hit London, and on to Oxford, to see the band who made that album. And last night, they played that self-same album in its entirety.
The band? Yes. The album? Close to the Edge.
Getting into Yes in the 1980s was deeply unfashionable. Why didn't I listen to Depeche Mode or Siouxsie and the Banshees? Well, I did listen to those bands as well, but Yes are my guilty pleasure. And I was hooked from the moment I heard the title track of Close to the Edge. Last night was a challenge as it was the first item that they played on the first night of the tour. It was a bit rusty. But half way through I had a "hairs on the back of the neck moment".
The big thing was Steve Howe's guitar. I went all the way to Oxford because their London gig is at the Albert Hall, where the sound is awful, because amplified electric guitars bounce badly off those mushrooms in the ceiling. Last night I had a great view and the sound was perfect. Steve is 67 years old and he played his guitars like the man in his prime that he surely is. The hairs on the back of the neck were practically turning into a 70s long hairdo all by themselves.
So, the moral of the story is: Don't turn down the opportunity to spend 99p. OK, that might be difficult in the 99p shop, but, perhaps you know what I mean. Because 34 years later, I bless the day I made an impulse buy in J and J Records, Hatfield.