So, when I saw they were playing in Guildford, I bought myself and Lauren a ticket.
The tour was a co-headlining one with "The Selecter", who I'd seen once, many, many years ago in a dreadful performance in Bournemouth (That night saved by the exuberance of "The Bodysnatchers" in a 3 hander Two-Tone gig - I can't recall who the third band were!)
On the Friday evening before Christmas, there were a lot of people looking to enjoy their evening. The audience had its fair share of fat 50 somethings in pork pie hats, but also plenty of youngsters, and not all there with their parents.
The Beat were up first and, with a tight timetable, Ranking Roger wasted no time, starting at 8 sharp with "Whine & Grine" medleyed with "Stand Down Margaret" to the delight of the crowd.
After that he explained that his son, "Ranking Junior", was suffering from the flu, so he was on his own tonight, but that "Junior" might appear at some point (He did, for "Side to Side", to a warm reception from the crowd).
I'd been to see Squeeze at G-Live a couple of months earlier and it's a good venue, modern and a nice size (not too big), but I found the sound then of the vocals was pitched at the wrong level for me on the floor and the same, sadly, was true for this gig. The vocals weren't totally inaudible, but not at the right level to be clear above the instruments. I don't know if the sound is better further back or maybe up in the balcony, but this might well put me off going to see anyone there in future.
With only an hour, The Beat delivered a cut down set (The headliners alternated on this tour and "The Selecter" got the role - and the extra time - at Guildford), but it was enjoyable and energetic, as we'd expected from Ranking Roger, but, good thought it was, it didn't match the energy and excitement of that Reading gig, partly, I'm convinced, because at Sub 89 there is no real stage and the, small, audience and the band share the floor! The sound, too, had been better balanced at Reading.
Stand outs for me were "Hands Off...She's Mine","Too Nice to Talk to", "Click Click", "Ranking Full Stop", "Tears of a Clown" and "Can't get used to losing You", but once again Ranking Roger's energy was infectious and the set was very enjoyable, if, by comparison with Sub 89's a bit detached.
So, a very enjoyable performance from "The Beat" by most standards, but not a match for the last time we'd seen them.
There was a 30 minute or so break, while the stage hands switched the branding and we (and everyone else) queued forever for a drink.
We managed to get back in before "The Selecter" started and my first thoughts were that I wasn't going to enjoy them for a second time.
Pauline Black is a very mannered performer ("Weird" Lauren described her as and I won't quibble), whilst long time band-mate, Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson acted as a good foil to her and provide some welcome balance to the vocals (The sound balance seemed better, if not ideal, for them).
The rest of the band looked like young session players, but the sound was familiar, from the opening "Avenger's Theme", through recent track "Frontline" and "Three Minute Hero", but even with the familiar tracks, I wasn't warming to them really.
It wasn't really until "On My Radio", a good 2/3rds of the way through, that they hit their stride for me and I really started to enjoy myself and it and "Too Much Pressure" were the undoubted highlights for me (along with "Madness" performed as part of the excellent encore with Ranking Roger).
I personally wouldn't pay to go and see "The Selecter" alone again (to be fair, I rarely see bands repeatedly), but they 'got' me in the end and I would say their set overall had been enjoyable and added to, rather than detracted from, my enjoyment.
By the time we left, humming our favourites and discussing the gig, I was definitely in a festive mood.
From another gig, but pretty close to G-Live, although they played "Side to Side" and "Too Nice to Talk to" as well and obviously dropped a few - I don't recall "Rough Rider" or "Said We Would Never Die".
Whine & Grine/Stand Down Margaret
Hands Off...She's Mine
Twist & Crawl
Doors of Your Heart
Save It for Later
The Tears of a Clown(Smokey Robinson & The Miracles cover)
Can't Get Used to Losing You (Andy Williams cover)
Rough Rider(Prince Buster cover)
Said We Would Never Die(The English Beat cover)
Ranking Full Stop / Mirror in the Bathroom
Jackpot(The Pioneers cover)
I know the order is wrong here, it's from another gig on the tour as "Missing Words" was played earlier and they played "Frontline" at one point too.
The Avengers Theme(Laurie Johnson Orchestra cover)
Out on the Streets
Three Minute Hero
They Make Me Mad
Celebrate the Bullet
See Them A Come
Black and Blue
It Never Worked Out
Train to Skaville(The Ethiopians cover)
James Bond Theme(Monty Norman cover)
On My Radio
Too Much Pressure / Pressure Drop
Carry go bring home / Time Hard / Murder
My Collie (Not a Dog)
Madness(Prince Buster cover) - With Ranking Roger