HIDDEN tracks

Music was Pete Paphides' first love. And at this rate, it will be his last.


Gary Numan at The Forum

The fancy dress parade isn’t what it was”

Where Gary Numan shows were concerned, it used to be something of a tradition among his fans. Numanoids would choose their favourite era and dress accordingly. For most, it was a toss-up between the black boiler suit of…


Remembering Live Aid

I may have failed at history, but soon I was going to be part of it.”

Actually, there was snow in Africa that Christmastime – but it was on the snowy peaks of Kilimanjaro and Tanzania – inaccessible to all but the hardiest of explorers. And, of course, the only bells that ring there are not…



You’re just a product, and no-one thinks about you when they go home.”

Estelle isn’t due to appear on stage for another hour. But in the basement of Zavvi on Oxford St – formerly the Virgin Megastore – a hundred-odd Estelle fans have already installed themselves. If you have a mental image of…



All the old crowd were there: Gabriel the toad; Madeleine the rag doll… Professor Yaffle sounded strangely Australian.”

What a fortnight for Lazarene comebacks. Two weeks ago in London, a total of 12,000 Brian Wilson fans finally saw Pet Sounds being played live for the first time. This afternoon at the Chequer Mead Arts Theatre, where the…


Pete Paphides
C86 and all that

It was about eschewing a vernacular that seemed ugly, predatory and anachronistic.”

It’s April 1994. Kurt Cobain has already taken a gun to his head, but his body won’t be discovered for two more days. In Glasgow, Radio One-sponsored indie festival Sound City is into its third day. Almost all the bands…


Kate Bush

She may have propelled us to the essence of our connection with her music: the miraculous, ungraspable nature of human consciousness”

So this is where epiphanies happen, and few people are better placed to tell you about that than Kate Bush. On July 3rd 1973, she came here, to the Hammersmith Odeon, with her brothers to see David Bowie declare on stage…



A gold leotard, adorned at the back with a huge ribbon tail conspired to make her look like a futuristic Cadbury’s Caramel bunny.”

Given the fortnight she has just had, it would have been understandable if Beyonce Knowles found it difficult to muster the necessary adrenalin for this British leg of her current tour. An arena in Liverpool – one that…


The Police

Like being clubbed to death by an English lecturer wielding a rhyming dictionary.”

When you have spent the official price of $220 per ticket to see the band that soundtracked your youth, is there any other option but to enjoy yourself? Seemingly not. Twenty-two years after The Police dissolved in a mire…



If the visuals seemed to be extolling an obsolete brand of futurism, the effect was compounded if you turned to face the audience.”

It was probably something to do with the 3D glasses – handed out in cute litte Autobahn envelopes – that made people assume that cinema conventions would apply. In other words, there was little rushing to the front. Instead…


Emerson Lake & Palmer

A solo from Palmer incorporated more nudity than was strictly necessary.”

“We’ve only been away for 12 years – you can make more noise than that!” exclaimed drummer Carl Palmer towards the end of this 40th anniversary reunion from the proggiest of all the 70s prog-rock vanguard. In fairness, an…


Susan Boyle

Approximately 36 too many short films about the role of Catholicism in the community. A case of quite literally preaching to the converted.”

Earlier reports had suggested we ought to expect something akin to a pop concert, maybe even a rock festival in which Pope Benedict XVI would be the main attraction. The conceit extended to a park dotted with many of the…


Bowlie 2

This is surely what the earth would look like if the meek had inherited it but hadn’t got around to making it over.”

“I did write to The Sundays a number of times,” confides Stuart Murdoch, “That would have been quite something.” In the Crazy Horse bar, where he has just been reading extracts from his newly anthologized writings, Belle…


Britney Spears

Lest we forget, a circus is a traveling show where strange and freakish spectacles unfold before you on a stage.”

All around the 02, the posters and flashing billboards reminded us that Britney Spears’ first UK shows in five years were something other than a mere arena show. If you wanted to be reductive about it, you could argue that…


Jason Donovan

He is no longer an appropriate object of lust.”

Like the bum-bum drums that mark an EastEnders cliffhanger, it was with a sense of reassuring inevitability that the final show of Jason Donovan’s current tour climaxed with Especially For You – the song which, 20 years ago…


Simply Red

If self-doubt is ever going to enter Hucknall’s psychological make-up, it’s unlikely to happen in a venue that resembles an enormous breast.”

Leon Russell’s A Song For You is one of those songs that elicit a huge communal cringe when delivered with anything less than titanium-strength confidence. A plea for tenderness from a performer to the subject of his aff…


Led Zeppelin

…advancing outwards like those martian tripods from War Of The Worlds.”

Even back in 1976, when Led Zeppelin had become part of the musical furniture, Jimmy Page claimed that the minutes before any show were still, by far, the worst. “I always get very edgy, not knowing what to do with myself…


Davy Graham

The longer he plays, the less blue space seems to divide the continents on the small illuminated globe placed beside his stool.”

Anyone looking to see Davy Graham’s name listed among the festivities at The Barbican’s Folk Britannia weekend would have been forgiven for missing him. With many of his contemporaries – Martin Carthy, Bert Jansch – rece…


Belle & Sebastian

Tonight, he approvingly notes the quantity of bicycles chained outside.”

Having been singled out by Stuart Murdoch, the dozen or so fans dancing at the back of the stalls commence what must be the politest stage invasion in history. Even when invited up there by the singer of the band they’ve…



Yes, that's exactly what it was. And then I went through a period of deep depression.”

STUDIO ONE, BBC TELEVISION CENTRE. Radiohead have been standing on stage for half an hour while technicians work out how best to light them for their appearance on Later. There isn't a huge amount to do, but Thom Yorke has…