Supergrass @ Wembley Arena, London, 25th January 2003
SUPERGRASS - WEMBLEY ARENA, 25/01/03

It’s a big day for Supergrass, one which will see them finally realise their enormous potential and break away from the has beens of the Britpop era. It’s a day which will see them break away from the Camden toilet circuit and become a fully fledged, arena sized act. Not that it was ever in doubt though, the Oxford four piece have always had this mind boggling ability to churn out infectious pop songs by the dozen. Their last album, ‘Life On Other Planets’ was a sublime collection of three-minute gems that more or less cemented their position in the British rock aristocracy.

Tonight’s a special night for the Grass, one which they fully intend to enjoy. And enjoy it they do – not at all phased by the monstrous support bill beneath them (Sleazy Danish rockers the Raveonettes, The Polyphonic Spree and Kiwi AC/DC copyists The Datsuns) they launch into ‘Za’, a glorious, archetypal Supergrass tune to open what is to be a truly magnificent set. ‘Rush Hour Soul’, the breezy ‘Seen The Light’ and ‘Brecon Beacons’ follow, and you get the feeling that the band are trying to tell us something. They’re telling us that contrary to critical opinion, their last album was in fact one of the highlights of 2002. They’re certainly convincing in doing so, even the slightly limp ‘Evening Of The Day’ sounds like it’s had a makeover.

Once they’ve got this out of their system, the crowd are treated to a feast of classic Supergrass. ‘Lose It’ and ‘Mansize Rooster’ feel like a time warp back to the glory days of 1995, whilst ‘Richard III’ and ‘Sun Hits the Sky’ are a display of Supergrass at their devastating best. Mid way through the set, the band charge off stage, prompting cries of ‘They’ve only been on ten minutes!’ – Gaz Coombes and his buddies in fact pretend to run away, they jump into a cab and drive off into the wet Wembley night. Of course they’re far too nice to rob 12,000 fans of their hard-earned cash, so they come back on and play ‘Never Done Nothing Like That Before’, a 90 second thrash that is up there with the best stuff they’ve ever done. Well they’ve certainly never run away from a gig before - you sense this is anything but nervousness, it’s in fact a band who are having the time of their lives. They storm through ‘Funniest Thing’, ‘Pumping On Your Stereo’ and the impossibly catchy ‘Grace’ before walking off stage, this time in anticipation of being called back on. The audience, mesmerised by witnessing a band whom have come of age so spectacularly, are not going to rob these four Oxford lads of their big moment moment for a second. They swagger back on, thank everyone for coming, and put the icing on the cake by finishing with ‘Caught By The Fuzz’, arguably their finest hour, a song which talks of youthful rebellion. Ah, those were the days. But for Supergrass, these are undoubtedly the days.

Jeremy Lloyd