Twenty years after Stereophonic’s famous 1999 Morfa gig, the Welsh rockers honoured the night with a one-off gig for 35,000 at Singleton Park in Swansea, but they sadly failed to mark the anniversary effectively.
Honouring their roots, Welsh artists Fireroad and Gryff Rhys were invited to perform, with Tom Grennan, in a beautiful silk shirt, appearing for a set before the ‘Phonics took the stage.
Following a week of beautiful weather, it was disappointing to arrive in Swansea to a cloudy sky. However, the resilient fans couldn’t be deterred from enjoying a few tinnies outside of the entrance to the park before entering.
Just missing Fireroad, the first set we managed to enjoy was Super Furry Animal’s frontman, Gryff Rhys. His amusing audience cue cards mixed with some Welsh language songs made for a pleasant afternoon, allowing most of the crowd to just sit and enjoy the music as we awaited the sun to join us.
However, for those of us inside listening to Gruff, rather than outside with our cans of cider, we were unfortunately greeted with thirty-minute queues for the bar and £5 a pint. And god forbid if you had to use the loos. This not only caused half of the audience to pee in public but also a breakdown in the queues and fights to break out by the bar.
Due to these organisation dilemmas, I missed the second half of Grennan’s set while trapped in an unmoving queue for the bar.
However, Grennan managed to keep the audience in good spirits, chatting to the crowd and performing hits such as Barbed Wire and Found What I’ve Been Looking For.
Finally, it was Stereophonic’s turn to take to the stage, performing a two and a half-hour set to a sold-out Singleton Park.
After opening with Cest La Vie, the gig failed to keep the same high energy, which wasn’t helped by the band’s congregation on the catwalk, allowing for minimal movement.
While the sound quality and performance was flawless, it mainly felt like the Kelly Jones show – possibly due to him spending last month touring solo.
He spent a long period of time seemingly alone on at the end of the catwalk at a piano, telling the audience small anecdotes from the band’s early days. While sweet, he felt like a separate entity to the band we were all there to see
Thankfully, the final 20 minutes of the set picked up in pace, proving that the band still have ‘it’… they just need to rework the setlist.
With an encore including Mr and Mrs Smith, Dakota and some fireworks, many left the evening happy however I couldn’t help feeling a little short-changed from the evening.
Overall, I’d rate the gig a 3/5: a fun afternoon but wouldn’t rush to see them again.