I could theoretically come up with a spectacular and convoluted story about how I spent more of those restless nights musing over whom to place at number one, preparing sophisticated charts, organizing one woman brainstorming sessions and using state of the art data analysis apps to weigh the pros and cons of each performance. I could- but I don’t want to, nor is it necessary. In the manner of Roman armies certain of their undisputed and indisputable victory, Editors came, saw and conquered.
The oft reviled programmer also understood the importance of their arrival, and placed them in the star spot of the A38 schedule- this also meant that they went against a main stage headliner, the identity of whom turned out to be frankly irrelevant, though I do know it was Manu Chao because poor man popped up on the list of acts I would grandly ignore for the Editors that night. For you see, they had visited Budapest during the previous winter and were superlative so I had no doubts about which fence I’d be glued to come 10 pm.
Yes, I did that too. That groupie thing of squeezing right to the front- it was Tom Smith’s hand calling me and nothing could stand in its way. The lights go off, the band comes on stage, the air vibrates and you crush my bones into glue, he says, I’m the saddest and happiest glue alive, I think. The fever I feel, the fake and the real, he goes on, and I wonder has there ever been a more perfect opening song than No Harm. Everyone else tries to go for the majestic, the grand, the upbeat- what use are those when you can simply melt people into a delighted dark puddle of feelings which will sway with your songs till the very end.
Here comes Sugar, their happy song, the one about how it breaks my heart to love you, later on there’s the one about how I’m yours to dissect– just how on Earth did they assume naming a track Formaldehydewould work and yes of course it does, you even start seeing the grand implications of it. The whole thing could be dismissed as a gimmick, tortured art school students wallowing in all the pain of the world, we have seen how many of those bands were born out of Joy Division’s ashes in the noughties and we have seen them recede into the irrelevant as well.
Some haven’t- they grew older, they became better and along the way we realized together the world is still a messed up place, if there really was a God here, he’d have raised a hand by now, but he hasn’t so we might as well make the most of it without him, even with that grand weight of the world, and the weight of love on our shoulders. Going to concerts is essentially trying to find temporary respite, a way out of your realities and into a world where we can exorcise the ache by singing about it, many many single lonelinesses coming together, in a darkened tent, for one night. But somebody needs to guide us there, and that’s a hard feat if there ever was one. It is also a feat that the Editors can pull of- I would lie if I said without the sweat of their brow, and it would also be unjust, because, after all, the beauty is always in the struggle.