We found our way there with not much trouble (navigation from memory & a too small scale map, I thought I did well :) ), and bumped into peagles just as we were coming out of the car park, which saved a phone call. We disdained the chain restaurants and headed into the town to find food. We walked past The Fountain, where many Cambridge Snowplains Meets started, and it had been done up all posh & yuppified. As the menu looked rather nice, we thought we'd eat there - partly for the nostaglia value. I think they'd taken out a bunch of internal half-walls, and sanded down the floorboards (they were paler than I remembered) ... the decor was all greys, whites & pale blues, and the tables were very pale pine. All in all, it looked very different - but we could recognise the tiling on the floor around the bar, and some other bits. Unfortunately the food, while quite nice, was a little on the small side portion-wise and a little on the high side price-wise (though Paul's drink took the biscuit - £4 a pint of Hoegarden??). Definitely not the pub to go for meets any more, if anyone was likely to do a Cam meet. They were lacking on the beer front, too - 5 pumps for bitters, only 2 labelled and one of those was off anyway. So nice food, but over-priced & not worth going back. Shame when that happens to a place one has fond memories of.
After coffee (and chocolate cake for the chaps) in a cafe in town we headed back to The Junction, and joined the suddenly rather large queue. Once inside we hit the merch desk & the bar in short order. J and I got his'n'hers matching tops, oops ;) They had jersey tops with the Signify artwork on - the sort of tops where it looks like you're wearing a t-shirt over a long sleeve top, but actually it's just sleeves etc sown onto a t-shirt. They had skinny fit ones & normal ones, so we got one each. Now to make sure we never wear them at the same time ;) It's my turn, today :)
Support was Robert Fripp doing Soundscapes ... which isn't my cup of tea (or my cup of t-equila, either). I generally need lyrics to hook me into the music. This is generally more pronounced with recorded stuff, and some things that pass me by when I listen to the CD grab me when live. Soundscapes isn't one of them, unfortunately. It's just Fripp playing guitar & looping stuff and layering sounds. Pleasant, impressive even, but doesn't do anything for me. J liked it a lot though, and sent me off in the interval back to the merch desk for the new Fripp CD.
And then, it was Porcupine Tree. Again, I'm not good with the gig reviews but I'll try harder this time as J was disappointed I didn't write anything about the Marillion concert ;) The atmosphere at a PT gig is very different to a Marillion gig, even though there's a fair overlap between the hardcore fans of both - Marillion was a party, people singing along, clapping - PT was a lot more intense and if there'd been just a few more younger people in the crowd then I think there'd've been a mosh pit. Most of the songs they played were from the more recent albums - only one from Stupid Dream & only one earlier than that. The earlier one was Radioactive Toy, which they stopped playing in recent tours as it had been done to death. Nice to hear it again, although it doesn't have the same impact when heard alongside the more recent rockier stuff as it did when next to the more psychadelic earlier PT. Steven Wilson tried hard to fit a Christmas theme in ... when introducing Lazarus he read out some 'Christmas lyrics' for the chorus, but said he wouldn't sing them as the band had threatened to walk off if he did. And when introducing "Dont Hate Me" he said (paraphrasing) "Even though this is a song about death, stalking and hatred it has the word 'snow' in it, so that makes it a Porcupine Tree Christmas song". But yeah, if you listen to the words, no PT song is a festive song ;)
It was a good show :)
The drive home was uneventful, and the cat was pleased at our return - which he showed by sulking till we showed signs of feeding him ;)
And then this morning, the car be broke :( Breakdown man arrived while I was typing up this entry so we'll soon find out what's actually wrong. But basically, while the car is moving the passenger side front wheel makes a weird noise, like it's catching on something, and the car sits lower at that side than the other. Yay for homestart on our breakdown insurance. And fingers crossed it's not too serious - while we can afford to fix stuff/whatever it'd be nice not to have to ;)