This was probably the most sought after ticket for Meltdown this year and the gig sold out quickly, so quickly that a second gig was scheduled for the following Monday which also sold out quickly. At one point she said, 'I've been away for too long, far too long' so here's hoping we'll see more of her in future.
Viv Albertine was the support act so we saw two punk heroes on the same stage and neither played anything from the 70s. Siouxsie focused on the 80s and a few songs from her last album, 'Mantaray'. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
When the lights went down there was a great cheer and, at the back of the stage, blinds descended with swathes of light shining behind them creating a great effect as people ran to the front of the stage. It was only after a few songs that I realised what it was meant to be - Siouxsie was playing the whole of the 'Kaleidoscope' album and the blinds reflect the album cover. I never thought she'd do something like that so it was great joy to hear all those songs, one after another in order. At one point Siouxsie said that she'd never sung some of these songs live before.
Siouxsie strode onto the stage and everyone stood up immediately, black on black hair, red on red lips and a white on white leather dress in which she took great delight in spinning round like a dervish with the skirt rippling out. She opened with 'Happy House' and the band was excellent from the start, just three of them - drums, bass and guitar/keyboards - and they made a great, solid, muscular sound with Siouxsie's voice clear and strong on top of it. I've no idea who they were but they'd clearly put the hours in to get that sound. Half-way through the set Siouxsie dropped her skirt to reveal she was wearing a white suit rather than a dress.
At the end of 'Kaleidoscope' and the manic and intense 'Skin', Siouxsie slowed it down with 'Eve White/Eve Black' and then they all left the stage. Phew, it was good to sit down for a couple of minutes and recover from the surprise of hearing the whole album, a record I played to death in 1981 and 82. I still have a vivid memory of doing exams with 'Christine' floating through my head. The house lights stayed off and then the blinds moved again, some rising, setting the scene for the band, followed by Siouxsie, to come back on stage.
This was the hits section of the show that I suspect most people in the audience (including me) were expecting. Siouxsie's nothing if not unpredictable. She opened with 'Israel' and 'Arabian Knights' back to back before commenting that Pompeii has finally come to London and launching into 'Cities In Dust'. 'Dear Prudence' was followed by the comment that we had to have something from 'Mantaray' and we got 'Loveless'. The big surprise came when Siouxsie said 'Bat stations' and suddenly the Bat signal was projected all around the hall as they played 'Face to Face' from the Batman film. And then they were off to much clapping and cheering and a need for more.
Siouxsie kept us waiting and then a roadie came on to put a chair in the middle of the stage. Siouxsie then emerged wearing an outrageous hat and bustle and took her place on the chair to sing 'Careless Love' pulling shapes and poses. This was followed with 'Here Comes That Day' from 'Mantaray' and the final song was a powerful 'Into A Swan' with Siouxsie pulling the swan shapes and movements I remember so well from the 'Mantaray' tour. Then picking up the bunch of red roses she always gets at a show in London she slowly sauntered off with a wave and without a care in the world. Was she excited at the reception she'd just received, the rapture she'd caused? We'll never know. She's Siouxsie.
It was an exhilarating experience seeing Siouxsie on stage and I'm looking forward to seeing her again at Monday's show. Will it be the same set or will she come up with another one? Which album might she choose to play? Questions questions. I'll be much closer to the stage on Monday but here are some photos from row P in the stalls.