So, yesterday was A Day, and particularly a day where I went through every conceivable extreme of emotion over the course of 15 hours or so.
The day started out pretty much normal - looking forward to the gig later and hoping I would actually have energy when I got there. I'd booked the afternoon off (as well as all of today) because I learned the hard way last time that going to a rock concert straight after work and having to go back in again the next morning was excruciating, to say the least.
Before I even got to work, I woke up at 5.30am with acid reflux which turned into a bout of vomiting thanks to hitting my gag reflex, so for the next hour or so until I had to actually get up I wasn't even sure if I'd be going in. I felt okay by the time my alarm went off but then my body did its usual trick of feeling fine until the exact point of being halfway to work on the bus, by which point it's too late to turn around and go home. I treated myself to a sausage sandwich from the greasy spoon by work and that did at least make me feel a bit better.
Around 10.00am, I did my weekly bank account check to make sure I was still on track. At which point, I discovered that my bank (Lloyds) had changed their overdraft charges and effectively tripled - if not quadrupled - what I was paying, by changing the charges to daily rather than monthly. They had in fact sent me a letter about the change, but who ever reads letters from the bank?
Basically, the way it works is that if you only use your overdraft a little bit for emergencies, you have until midnight the same day to clear it and get back in the black. So for people who rarely use or need their overdraft, it actually works out cheaper. For people like me, however, who are perpetually overdrawn even after getting paid, the new charges (1p per £7.00 owed per day) are significantly higher than the previous monthly charge (which usually went out at the start of the month so I could factor it into my budgeting for the rest of the month).
Basically, a massive failpit of Tory logic - if you're fine you will benefit, if you're not you get screwed.
I had finally cleared my loan as of 1st October and was looking forward to being £100 a month better off, as that would enable me to slowly chip away at my overdraft and my credit card. Instead, the new charges meant that I would be no better off and not actually able to clear the overdraft because it was eating money out of my account on a daily basis.
Angry didn't begin to cover how I was feeling at that point, but it was the most prominent emotion alongside frustration and despair. It was just as well I'd booked the afternoon off because I couldn't actually concentrate on anything for more than five minutes at a time without my brain tying itself in knots. I texted Paul to let him know because the new charges would also affect our joint bills account.
I finally left work at 12.45pm. As is usually the case when you're having a bad day, the public transport system decided to make it worse. After a 15-minute wait for a bus, it was "not in service" despite the fact the next one also wasn't for 10 minutes. Three were then due at once (obvs) with the first one, again, being out of service. I finally got on the 11 about half an hour later, and all in all it took me nearly two hours to get home.
Paul left his training day early so he could come home and look at options, and thankfully came up with a solution which effectively cleared my overdraft, and the overdraft on the bills account, and enabled me to significantly reduce the overdraft limit on my account. After Christmas I will be moving banks, because Lloyds don't deserve my loyalty.
After all of this, I had a meltdown - mostly because I'd been holding onto it in an effort not to break down at work, and because the journey home was so bloody awful. But actually, that was just as well because otherwise the gig would definitely have set me off.
Such being said: the Killers were awesome.
The setlist included several tracks from the new album, as expected, with some classic arena anthems and some old favourites revisited. (I could barely remember the setlist so I had to google it to do this entry.)
They started with "Wonderful Wonderful", the title track, with Brandon Flowers showing off some new dance moves. The opening of the song allowed a lot of really good tension-building as each of the band filed on one after the other (and the drummer being slowly revealed behind the screen) to the sound of a low hum and drumbeat.
After that things properly kicked off with "The Man" (the first single release off the new album), complete with a neon 'male' symbol front and centre of the stage (plus three 'female' symbols in front of the backing singers, which was a nice touch) and massive confetti canons as the chorus kicked in. The imagery is not exactly subtle there, but one of my favourite things about the band is that they don't take themselves seriously. As Brandon himself said, they came to us "via fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada", so you're already expecting a show which is big, bold and massively over-the-top - a bit of Vegas glitz in cold and rainy Birmingham. Brandon's ability to work the crowd is legendary and the entire track is a tongue-in-cheek self-celebration - as evidenced by the fact that a bit later on he repeated the lyrics to us. "Who's got money in the bank? Who's got gas in the tank? WHO'S THE MAN?" (YOU DA MAN!)
After that were two crowd-pleasers, "Somebody Told Me" and "Spaceman", which got everyone standing up and dancing, before heading into another new track, "Run for Cover". This is the band's anti-Trump song and it was a gratifying moment to have the entire audience chant back the line, "It's even harder when the dirtbag's famous!" with absolute gusto - and Brandon's pleased little smile when we did. (It was a pretty good way to get the measure of the crowd...)
Three more old tracks after that, "I Can't Stay", "Smile Like You Mean It" and "For Reasons Unknown" - the latter including a long segment of the audience repeating the titular chorus over and over again.
Then came "Rut", another new song. If not for my cathartic meltdown at home, I'm pretty sure this would have set me off because it's totes emosh and ALSO ACCURATE.
"Life to Come" was next, which I think Paul and I have kind of decided is going to be the first dance song at our wedding. We did toy with wanting a Killers track because they are the only band we both like, but most of their songs are not really first-dance tempo and the ones that are tend to be break-up songs. "Life to Come" really resonated given what had happened that morning, so... yeah.
Next came "Human" (always a winner) and "This River is Wild" before "Some Kind of Love", which gave everyone an opportunity to have a bit of a sit down before they headed into the final three songs before the encore. They have an uncanny knack of being able to tell when everyone is flagging!
Then there was "Runaways", which is one of my favourite tracks from Battle Born (if they'd played the title song I probably would have lost my shit completely because it's my empowerment anthem; thankfully they did not play it and everyone was spared) and "Read My Mind".
And then - of course - "All These Things That I've Done". I instinctively got my phone out to film this because when they played it last time it resulted in the entire auditorium chanting "I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier" over and over again, and because it's just a really epic song when they do it live. We were not disappointed. Brandon clearly loves performing this and letting the audience take over for a while (he did the same in "Spaceman" to a lesser degree), and there's something magical about being part of that - 10,000 or more people all chanting those lyrics in unison. When the guitar riff kicks in at the start you just know it's going to be the best moment of the night. When the chorus kicked in proper there were streamers and confetti exploding from the ceiling - it felt like the celebration it so clearly was.
After a brief interlude and a couple of bouts of impatient clapping, they commenced the encore with "The Calling". The track starts with a sermon-like Bible reading, really hitting home the reason why Brandon Flowers is such a good showman - he is basically a preacher with a keyboard-shaped pulpit, whipping the audience into a frenzy like a healer, with a healthy dose of Vegas-inspired glamour. (The fact that he's insanely pretty and has some epic moves also helps!)
Next was "Believe Me Natalie" and "When You Were Young" (all my Sunset feels!), before ending the night with "Mr Brightside". There's a good reason this is one of their most famous hits, and you haven't lived until you've sat in a crowd of people going ABSOLUTELY MENTAL when it starts. The energy in the room was off the scale.
I am so very glad I managed to have my cathartic meltdown before going to the gig, because otherwise I would probably not have enjoyed it as much as I did. It probably can't be healthy running the gamut of emotions like that in such a short space of time, but if the night had to end on a high point then I can't think of anything better than the Killers.
Now that's over with, I have about a week to recover before seeing Sunset Boulevard in ten days' time. Hopefully that will not also be A Day of overwrought emotions. (The day after that we will be going to the Festive Gift Fair at the NEC, but I will try and get a write-up post done as soon as I can so it doesn't all fall out of my head!)