Review: Dean Wareham in London, Worthing and Newcastle

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Dean Wareham at The Islington Assembly Hall
Dean Wareham at The Islington Assembly Hall

So, those dates that were due in April 2020 finally happened, such a long wait. The last time I saw Dean in the flesh was outside Debaser in Stockholm in September 2018 - pretty sure I said “hope to see you soon” as I walked away, because I almost always do. Instead it was the longest gap in DW related shows since I first saw him with Galaxie 500 in Subterania in 1990.

When the tour was first announced there was no new album to pitch so it was sold as Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500’s On Fire but he’s since released the fabulous I Have Nothing To Say To The Mayor of LA and so was also including a few tracks from that in the sets.

London

Dean Wareham at The Islington Assembly Hall
Dean Wareham at The Islington Assembly Hall

There was a big crowd in London, people kept telling me it had sold out … but I didn’t believe them, but, if it wasn’t sold out it was pretty damn close - certainly the biggest crowd I’ve seen Dean Wareham play in front of (except I guess maybe ULU with Galaxie 500).

Opened with a few new tracks, played On Fire (not in order) and encored with covers of Scott Walker’s Duchess and Joy Division’s Ceremony - they were then hauled out for a second encore - Fourth of July.

Worthing

Dean Wareham at St Paul's Chapel, Worthing
Dean Wareham at St Paul's Chapel, Worthing

The venue was a chapel that had been repurposed as an arts venue and it too was a very well attended show. I dragged my dad along for his second Dean show (after one in Brighton a few years back).

Again opened with some tracks from the new album, On Fire (not in order), encore of Victory Garden and a blindingly good Don’t Let Our Youth Go To Waste. No second encore … we should have tried harder - although it would have been hard to follow that as a set closer!

Newcastle

Dean Wareham during soundcheck in Newcastle
Dean Wareham during soundcheck in Newcastle

So Dean and band arrive in my new hometown (OK near my new hometown they played The Cluny in Newcastle rather than coming to Whitley Bay). I managed to invite myself for the soundcheck - actually arrived a bit early for that … in time for getting T-shirts ready for the merch table!

This time they opened with Galaxie 500’s Flowers before playing a few new tracks, then On Fire (not in order - Dean pointed this out and that “it didn’t say ‘in order’ on the tickets). Encore was Duchess and, by request, Tugboat. No second encore.

I took a few videos at the show and soundcheck - the mic on the camera really struggled so they don’t sound so great - but … still great!

Notes and summary

Dean’s band for this tour was Britta (of course) on bass, Roger Brogan on drums and Derek See on guitar - and they were both remarkably tight and beautifully relaxed - all three shows (and I’ll assume the rest of the tour) were amazing and they seemed to be having a blast - even after so long on the road.

Derek and Roger released a splendid album, Landslide Eyes, as The Gentle Cycle earlier in the year that’s well worth throwing some pennies at.

It was lovely, as always, to meet-up with other fans/friends - particularly in London seeing some people I haven’t seen since I moved to the North East.

Thanks to everyone who made this tour happen - after multiple posponements it really was beginning to feel like it might never happen - but somehow they pulled it off. I guess the downside to that is that there’s no Dean Wareham (or Dean & Britta, or Luna) show to look forward to. But … hopefully they make it back here soon.

I can’t wait to do it all again!

Finally … a gorgeous poster from a show I wasn’t at … but kind of fixed by Dean when he signed it:

Poster for the Bristol show
Poster for the Bristol show

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On Fire | 30

A 30th anniversary celebration of Galaxie 500's masterpiece

On Fire 30 CD sleeve (design: John Conley)
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