A.J. Walker


Gigs of '23 and the Coming Year

Didn’t have a packed gig year in 2023, but I made it to a few favourites and found some new favourites too. It was great to get to Frank Turner again at the start of the year in Wolverhampton, but most my gigs were more local (okay, all were) with events at Phase One, Camp & Furnace, Future Yard, Olympia, and even at Neptune Brewery. Ended up with multiple Casino, Heavy North, and Lottery Winners gigs-Robert Cray after a long wait between appearances for me, and saw Professor Yaffle for the first time (at the brewery). All top bands. I went to a few Sofar gigs too introducing me to even more new music.

I’ll be happy if next year matches it. So far (not Sofar) I have two gigs booked and once again quite predictable and, no doubt, fabulous. I’ve got the Heavy North at the Arts Club at the beginning of February to look forward to and then a return to Blackpool Tower to see the Lottery Winners. The last time I went to a gig there it was Radiohead in 2006. Yes, Radiohead in Blackpool! Should be boss.

I’m gonna aim for a gig a month. That said I have a crap aim. At the end of the day though you just can’t beat live music, can you?

Happy Gig Year to you all for next year.

Anfield Memories

Last week Liverpool played Man Utd at Anfield in a less than perfect game. Plenty of ball and chances for Liverpool but nothing finished off. A goalless draw. One of the main things that the game may be remembered for was the opening of the expanded Anfield Road Stand. Another 7000 seats for Anfield. Brilliant for the club.

It led me to recall how things have changed there. I used to go to the Lower Anfield Road (near the away fans) with the Adult & Child tickets, where my mum and dad would take turns to go with me to the game. Mum was a lot more vociferous as a fan than dad. My first attendance at a match in the stadium though was with a schoolfriend and their parents in the Upper Tier of the Kemlyn Road Stand, which is now the Sir Kenny Daglish Stand. And it was a night match. Climbing the stairs tand then getting to see the pitch under the floodlights for the first time was something to behold and I can still recall it vividly now.

The match was a League Cup game between Liverpool and Ipswich in October 1982–I had just turned 14. Apart from the great players on show it is also evident how pitches have improved over the years. Bobby Robson had left Ipswich a few months earlier to become England manager, but they were still a team full of great familiar names (if you’re of a certain age): Osman, Wark, Butcher, Thyssen, Burley, Mills. As for the Liverpool team, bloody hell it was a cracking eleven:

Grobbelaar, Kennedy, Hansen, Thompson, Neal, Whelan, Souness, Lawrenson, Lee, Dalglish, Rush.

I mean, come on, what a team to see first up. I really was lucky to see some of the best legends of Liverpool when I started going to games. It was five years later that i'd get a Kop season ticket in the days of standing (yes, standing) and the season ticket cost? £80. Oh how times have changed.

Now there are 7000 more people who’ll be able to see the current stars. In years to come they’ll reminisce about the first time they went to Anfield-and what legends they saw too. Onwards and upwards. YNWA.