When I saw The Living End in October 2006, it was the first concert I really ever went to. Sure, I’d seen a few live performances here and there, and a few bands at a few decent smaller festivals, but they were the first band I’d ever actually seen as a headlining act. It was a pretty nifty gig, to be honest, supported by Red Riders and End Of Fashion (who both sadly have quit the game, though Red Riders have done a reunion show only a few weeks back), it really opened me up to the world of live music.
At the time, their current big single ‘Wake Up’ was everywhere. It was inescapable. The music video was all over TV, it was played on the radio everywhere you went, and to be fair, this exposure was well-deserved for a band like The Living End.
I’d grown up hearing a lot of their tracks, from their early punk/rockabilly days of ‘Prisoner Of Society‘, to ‘One Said To The Other‘, and onward to tracks such as ‘What’s On Your Radio‘, I’d heard them basically all of my musical life. And honestly, I loved them, so seeing them in concert, let alone for my very first concert, was sure to be special.
And special it was. The gig was amazing. Chris Cheney proved that he’s an electrifying frontman, and the crowd was respectful and grateful of the band for the show. However, one thing that’s always stuck with me brings me back to ‘Wake Up’.
I’ve seen hundreds of gigs now, and one thing I’ve seen very rarely is bands repeating a song in their setlist. Don’t get me wrong, it happens, and not just when you’re seeing Kanye West play ‘Niggas In Paris’ about two or three times, but it does happen. What struck me about The Living End show that I saw, was that the band played ‘Wake Up’, their current big single near the beginning of the show. Fine, I thought, they’ve plenty of other huge hits up their sleeve. But strangely, they decided to close the show with it as well.
Now, I like the song, so this wasn’t an issue. But the idea of not closing a set with your biggest hits, or crowd favourites, has always struck me as odd. Their encore did indeed feature huge hits, but when they came back out for ‘Wake Up’ the second time, the crowd were expecting something, better, for want of a better word.
They were expecting some deep cut that the band never play, or an elusive single that they might have forgotten about. Nope, they replayed ‘Wake Up’, and the crowd didn’t really dig it. Again, I love this song and everything about it, but I cannot help but think of a huge level of crowd disappointment when I hear this track, and how confusing it must have been for all those fans to have heard a current single twice in a set, rather than a big hit.