EDitorial ± 12-Jul-2006

Thomas Dolby, La Scala

Wasn't all kick 'n' rush in the month of June, no sirree. Made the time on day 15 to train it to London for a hyper-rare UK concert by one T.M. Robertson, otherwise known as Thomas Dolby.

Tube to King's Cross, stroll to La Scala, and there's a motley queue (a queue!) snaking round the venue. Freshly bought drink confiscated at the door -- can they do that? -- and up the stairs into the weirdly shaped hall. Already heaving, even more so by the time TMDR finally took the stage in his enormous greatcoat (see these impressive photos taken on the night) and US military-inspired headset.

Opened with Leipzig ("39 and you need some leeway") before his fancy equipment fizzled out. So, while his lackey hit CTRL+ALT+DEL, he spoke, very disarmingly, to us, the crowd. His first London gig since 1992, he said: wow.

Eventually he and his gear got going again, and it was a privilege to hear a handful of tracks from my favourite record, ever, in the flesh. I'd pick out the ever-topical Windpower and the powerful One Of Our Submarines, about an underwater seafaring relative. Enjoyed the video mixing too, reminiscent of his ancient VHS-only concert film Live Wireless. Nice story too about a trip to LA's Griffith Observatory on a sleepless night, seeing the urban sprawl below before, suddenly, a large scale power cut.

Such was the love from the masses that he even got away with (a) introducing his kids, each sporting 1980s Dolby mad scientist specs, and (b) playing a non-naff version of Hyperactive! He seemed genuinely flattered by the reception, and it felt good simply to be there.