The Farm put on an exclusive throwback show that has Getintothis’ Nathaniel Cummings believing some things do get better with age.
Two songs in and we spot a man in white Lacoste trainers, 501s and loose short-sleeved-shirt alternating sips from his two pints as he bops his head emphatically along with Some People. It was at that moment that the vibe of the gig became recognisable.
In fact, he was only one of an army of middle-aged men that packed out Liverpool O2 Academy 2 and religiously chanted the lyrics to songs this writer had never heard before (they did surprisingly well to remember so many given the volume of stacked beer cups that lined the sides of the venue) – adding further to the sense that this show was more of an occasion than one of The Farm‘s usual outings.
“We’re only playin’ the old stuff!” insisted Peter Hooton repeatedly, resisting the urge to set the place alight with Altogether Now. And it provided a genuine sense of nostalgic atmosphere as the band played their Pastures Old and New album in full, complete with an impressive brass section.
But no-one was really there for those hits. They were there for the rarities, and that’s what they got; an oft forgotten classic album played in full.
In a set containing only ’80s material, the lads evoked an atmosphere reminiscent of an early Anfield gig 30 years ago – a bringing-together of true fans, to remember their purest, and possibly finest, material.
A stirring performance of No Man’s Land – the hit before it was a hit – epitomised the friendly, communal feel to the night as The Farm’s loyal contingent sang every word wholeheartedly, not-for-a-second wishing it was the more well known commercially successful reworking of the song being played.
Suitably, Memories began the obligatory encore and several fans confirmed to us afterwards that it was one they ‘hadn’t heard in years‘ – yet it’s nostalgic lyrics and meaning wrapped the crowd in the kind of brotherly embrace that had been brooding from the set’s beginning.
As a non-religionist, it was interesting to hear a rendition of The Clash‘s White Man in Hammersmith Palais. The Farm‘s version spoke of their influences as a young band and once more provided a brief window into the band’s humble beginnings. I’m sure it was a very emotional night for The Farm themselves, their old friends, and their truest fans.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Martin Waters