Friday gets into gear

T in the Park didn’t feel like T in the Park to begin with. First of all, no rain, no queues, I mean no queues. Straight in, ticket, wristband within half an hour. The only moan could have been to do with the amount I had packed for three days and trudging to the furthest campsite to join friends. TITP uniform this year was pink – lots of it –never seen so many pink wellies and kagouls. Plus fluorescent anything, especially face and body paint – to counteract the grey skies and circling scavenging seagulls.The fluorescent yellow army of security and crew were indistinguishable from the revellers. From miles away, you could hear the frequent Mexican wave-roars of the excitement of finally making it to the Friday of T in the Park, rammed full of anticipation. Access to the arena was quick and easy – the whole layout had changed. On entering, I encountered more than the usual disorientation.: King Tuts had moved, the hills and bumps had gone, you didn’t have to walk so far between stages, the sound was better and I could actually hear and watch a main stage gig from quite a distance away.

‘Big Country’ opened up the main stage around 5pm. Since their reformation, albeit missing Stuart Adamson, this band have gone on to defy the odds against them and more than hold their own against younger and newer audiences. It wasn’t just nostalgia. The crowd was steadily filling up and there was some dancing…but then, there had been dancing to the bagpipes and drums at the entrance to the arena. I often feel the T in the Park crowd are the main entertainment at the festival.

As six o’clock approached, the lake of people in front of the stage suddenly became an ocean spilling out and beyond…nobody seemed to be anywhere else but facing the main stage waiting for The View, the Dundee band renowned for their passionate, exhilarating live shows. How can you get into party mode at 6pm? Well, I have never seen a band so early pull together such a massive fierce community of euphoria and reflection in the space of forty minutes. From the intro of John Sinclair’s speech from ‘Best Lasts Forever’ off their third album ‘Bread and Circuses’, the torch was lit and the band cannoned through a fiery set which ranged from the dizzy punk pop rock of ‘Grace’ and ‘Wasted Little Deejays’ through to the mild melancholy of ‘Face For The Radio’ and the thoughtful ‘Realisation’. As soon as the opening chords cut through the air, it was clear the party had finally started. More heads and bodies on shoulders than on the floor, others lifted up by the sheer weight of the crowd pressing forward – and that was from two hundred feet away. There was nothing else to see from the stage but a massive swell of enraptured people. This was no warm up – this was the inferno. Hands were en masse in the air, clapping. I was lifted up off my feet, unable to breathe, desperately waving my notepad in the air and that was just the first song. ‘Wasted Little Deejays’ saw more trampling and lifting. The usual chant of ‘The View, the View are on fire!’ seemed such an understatement, it had been replaced with ‘Here we, here we, here we fucking go!’ And so they did – 60,000 of them.

The howling guitars of ‘Blondie’ and Falconer’s heart-aching vocals reached to the blue skies . He asked the crowd afterwards, ’Was that alright, then?’ Kieren announced ‘Face For the Radio’ as a singalong (like he had anything to do with it) and proved how the audience believe anything this band gives them – as the tone moved from euphoria to bittersweet reminiscence in a matter of seconds. The View understand community and songs and they are one of the few who could add such a slow song early in a set without losing the tempo. ‘Face for the Radio’ unites the most disparate audience and pulled in more. This was followed by what Kieren, the bassist, announced as, ‘The most Scottish theming song we’ve ever written’. ‘Realisation’ has indeed become the new national anthem for young Scots as I face several male backsides on shoulders blocking my view of the stage – world domination certainly made me feel so small. Kieren continues afterwards with the rest of his manifesto which I cannot hear for all the yelps around me and being wrenched into a moshpit or wheel of death as ‘Tragic Magic’ starts up, a Ferris wheel of a song which highlights Falconer’s lilt and roar as he ranges from all extremes. ‘Sunday’ is met with even more ecstacy and delirious dancing with Kieren announcing at the end: ‘This really is the best place in the world to be right now.

I am officially squashed and crumpled by now and retreat to the t-shirt stand as the impact of ‘Same Jeans’ makes me forget about anything else but survival. ‘Superstar Tradesman’ and ‘Shock Horror’ close the all-too-short set as the weight of the heaviness of life flies off into the blue skies along with these Dundonian majestic melodies, their transcendence and harmonies breaking the grey clouds apart. Pete, the lead guitarist, does a zig zag final chord on his vertical uplifted guitar, closing a supreme set. In a matter of minutes, the View have transformed a festival into a rapture, a celebration of belief. If any band set the tone of T, it was this opening set. Even the headliners just followed in their wake.

Words by Jaime Scrivener
Photos by Colin 'TwoThumbsFresh' McQuillen &
Steven Brown

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