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Sparks live at the O2 Academy Bristol November 2013

I am such a bad fan.  There was a notice at the O2 Academy in Bristol saying that Sparks did not want the audience to take any photographs during the Revenge of Two Hands One Mouth concert on 27 November 2013, and yet I felt compelled to sneak some photographs anyway.  Nothing is sacred…  Apologies to the Mael brothers, but I just had to!

Bear in mind that I had an Olympus Trip camera, no flash (didn’t want to draw attention to myself, did I?), and I was shooting on daylight slide film, these photos are not amazing but I have to say I am pretty pleased with them nonetheless.


I was not very prepared so did not write down the set-list but from memory Sparks did the following songs and probably more besides, but don’t quote me on it as my memory is terrible these days!

  • This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us
  • Falling In Love With Myself Again
  • B.C.
  • How Are You Getting Home?
  • Big Boy
  • The Number One Song in Heaven
  • Nicotina
  • How Do I Get To Carnegie Hall?
  • Your Call’s Very Important To Us. Please Hold.
  • Suburban Homeboy
  • Good Morning
  • Excerpts from The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman
  • Two Hands One Mouth
  • When Do I Get to Sing My Way?


Sparks are still amazingly good, even as a two-piece (I don’t know how it works, it just does), so you should definitely go and see them if you get the chance.  The good news is that the Ingmar Bergman film is definitely going ahead – Ron and Russell mentioned it during the concert and confirmed that work starts next year.  If it goes ahead with Guy Maddin it will be a must-see – they are a perfect match for each other.   So we might finally get to see a great Sparks film, although I have to admit that with them playing Big Boy during the set all I could think of was Rollercoaster!

I only had a few shots left on the end of my film, so that’s all I could get on film.  And, guess what?  The film ran out when Ron decided to do his dance, dammit!  I knew I was going to get myself into trouble getting the old mobile ‘phone out for a shot or two but I got it out anyway and, ahem!, got myself into trouble, obviously.  The results are amazingly bad in a good way, I think.  The first one looks a bit Elephant Man – sorry, Ron, but you look like you have a growth on your head!


And the shot of the Ron dance is so blurry it looks arty – at this point I was caught in the act by security and just clicked whilst being chastised.  Bad girl!


After telling us we can’t take photographs of them, Sparks went and took photographs of us!  On their official Sparks Facebook page they posted this photograph in which I can be seen on the front row looking like an idiot with my big gob open.  Ron Mael took the photograph and, really, I was very happy to be in it even if I look like an idiot (I’m not going to tell you where I am though!):

Sparks concert

What a souvenir of a fabulous concert! And I think I do understand why the Mael brothers say “no photos” as I think that in general people have a tendency to watch concerts through their cameras and ‘phones these days rather than just enjoying the moment, but when I think back to concerts I went to and how I wish I’d taken photographs then I just can’t help it now.  So, sorry, Ron and Russell but I had to do it and I’ll probably do it again when I come to see you next time as well.  I never learn, do I?

Sparks audience photograph, taken by Ron Mael, from Sparks Official Facebook page.  All other photographs by me, thank you very much!

About tinynoggin

I love films (anything from exploitation stuff to stylish Eastern European cinema, but I'm not really into blockbusters and modern Hollywood), music (Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Michel Polnareff, Left Banke, Francoise Hardy, The Seeds, Love, The Zombies, etc) and books (Kurt Vonnegut, Julian Maclaren-Ross, Michel Houellebecq, Patrick Hamilton, Alan Sillitoe, and more). I take photographs with my Lomography Diana F plus or my Olympus Trip and like making stuff in my spare time.

2 responses to “Sparks live at the O2 Academy Bristol November 2013

  1. great gig! i breached the photo ban too, even though i was gievn a press/photo pass! they didnt tell us that we could only take pictures for first 3 songs, i went there and enjoyed first 2 songs and decided halfway through the 3rd to take some pics. some wanker security guy spoke to someone on his phone, waied ages to let me though and i had time to take 2 blurry pics before being booted out into the crowd again and told “not to make picture” from the other side! needless to say i did: heres my review and pics:

    • It was an excellent gig – shame it was so hard to get good photos surreptitiously, but the Olympus Trip wasn’t too bad even without a flash, really. Shame you couldn’t get more photos but I have to say I was annoyed with the press photographers as they stood directly in front of me for 3 songs and were ruining my view so, sorry to say, I was glad when they had to leave! Security were a bit harsh though, weren’t they? Very tough! I hope Sparks will be touring again soon, they were a delight even with no backing band and I have to say I wasn’t sure that would work but it certainly did.

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