Buckle & Boots 2023: The Paddock Stage - Gasoline & Matches
Having started proceedings at Buckle & Boots nearly 10 hours earlier, the duty fell to Gasoline & Matches to close things down on Day 1 of the Paddock Stage. The reality is that they have really grown out of these 30 minute slots and are more than capable of filling a lengthier slot however they took their allocated 30 minutes and squeezed as much into it as they possibly could, including a new member, some shameless showboating , audience participation and a drink or two!
They may have transferred from Main Stage to Paddock Stage but this was still to be a “Main Stage”“performance” in all but name. Few acts on the Main Stage this year put as much effort into their opening minute as G&M did for theirs – starting with a soundtrack, then the heightened dramatic effect of a big drum intro while the rest of the band faced the drummer, effectively hiding their faces from the audience. They would of course eventually turn around and dive into “Not Into Country” with Sally Rea firing off the lyrics in quick succession.
There were some occasions that were pure Main Stage such as Stephen going out onto the monitor front of stage, for a guitar solo on "If You Wanna Stay" however the Paddock Stage is not built for and certainly was not lit for such bravado – it’ll be interesting to see if any pictures make it out. The new single “Afraid To Fall” sounded even better in a live environment than on record and witnessed the debut of a new member of the band in the shape of a saxophone player Chris, who had an immediate effect on the overall sound – and equally was quick to throw in a big sax solo.
“Fools Gold” was also immediately transformed which saw Stephen go into full chicken head mode, and the sound with the addition of that sax now had an extra rock ‘n’ roll feeling to it. Each time it comes round, we marvel at Sally Rea’s performance of “Never Have I Ever”, it’s always cheeky, occasionally improvised to match the occasion, with a chorus that is impossible to resist.
A couple of covers arrived with “Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy” and some “Country Girl ( Shake It For Me)"and even some Freddie Mercury style “A O” call and response with the audience. The show that had started in high drama would end with even more on the new song “Glory Hunter” – this would see both Sally Rea and Stephen out on the front stage monitors, then they were all back on stage and on their knees – before eventually all of the band bar the drummer were out in the dark of the audience maybe lit by the occasional mobile phone, still playing their instruments. It was madcap, it was mayhem, the audience and #TEAMw21 loved every minute of it.