— 8th August 2004
Went to see young Will Young do a concert at Harewood House yesterday. Harewood House is a lovely old mansion out the north end of Leeds with ample grounds for having a concert in. Will Young is a bloke who won Pop Idol a while ago and who Kirsty (she’s my wife I tell you!) has something of a "thing" for.
We turned up fairly early (along with everyone else) and found a parking space next to a tree, which was probably not the most memorable place to park judging from the amount of trees around the place. They hadn’t opened the main gates yet and there was a great crowd of people waiting next to them. We half-heartedly joined a queue for a toilet but then left it when it didn’t move for ages and when some of the people further down the queue, who’d obviously been waiting much longer, got so desperate they ran off into (but not quite far enough into) the bushes nearby.
About this time the gates opened and the first few screaming girlies could be see hurtling through the trees on the other side of the fence. This gave a good speedy impression of what getting in would be like so we joined the crowd near the gates and waited... and waited... and shuffled a bit... and waited. The crowd was thousands full, the gate could probably let 5 people in at a time. The term "bottleneck" was coined for just such an occaision.
We eventually made it in, past a big sign telling us all the things we weren’t allowed to bring in, conventiently situated at such a place from where it would be impossible to "nip back" to the car to drop something off. We trudged a little way through a nice glade and then into the real field. To the right more toilets sans-queues (aha!) and then food and lager stalls (all packed by now) and then far to the left the stage. A support act was already beginning as we pulled up and began to pick our way into the throng.
It was agreed (a compromise) that we should find a fairly good spot and stick to it. The grass is rarely actually greener in these situations and the tiptoing through people (seated and stood) gets more and more awkward the farther you go.
We waited through another support act and then watched some anonymous men setting some stuff up. It was hinted that Will was arriving by helicopter, and then a helicopter arrived in the distance. Waving, cheering, shouts of "hello!" from people who could have only had the slightest idea of how they looked to Will himself, waving as they were from the middle of a crowd about a mile from where the helicopter hovered.
Eventually he arrived, having just come from a friends wedding apparently and in good spirits. He performed an excellent set of songs and although Kirsty could only just make him out between the heads of the five people stood in her line of sight she enjoyed it a lot. We stood and watched and clapped politely between songs. There were the a obligatory screams of "love you Will!!!" from various middle aged women throughout the crowd, and screams of panic and exhaustion from those poor children crammed into the area right next to the stage. I thought he was emensly relaxed and chatty between songs which was a nice change from the usual sullen indie types I’m used to. It has been pointed out to me since that he was probably half-cut but what the hey.
So in general standing in a field is still by far my favourite environment to watch music being played in. Will Young is as good a singer as you’ll find doing mild mannered soul and funk these days and in general did the business with aplomb.