GIG REVIEW – Bowling For Soup at Hammersmith Apollo 23/10/13

2002, 11 years old and I’m sitting in my living room, watching the music video for Girl all the bad guys want by Bowling for Soup on a music channel that doesn’t exist anymore for the first time.

A few weeks after the acoustic show of Jaret and Erik,  the full band of Bowling for Soup came together for the last time as a touring band at their last show of the tour at Hammersmith Apollo in London.  Jaret caught a cold somewhere in-between the tour and you’d think that because of that , the show would be cancelled but instead , he soldiered through the show,  and despite in some songs he strained his voice, it didn’t ruin the mood of everyone in the room. The thing that always makes a Bowling for soup show so enjoyable is that everything is always random, and tonight wasn’t any different. The band opened with Critically Distained , a new song from latest album, Lunch Drunk Love, they then went in to familiar territory with Almost as their second song, the sound of the crowd as one as they sang together filled up the whole room of the Hammersmith, a reminder why music is something best served live always. A few songs later, Emily was a definite highlight as the band walked and strutted around the stage with the crowd singing every word with much passion and support for the guys.

As the show carried on, Patent Pending who were the support band  hanged out at the side of the stage, which lead them to play the last half of the song for Ohio, showing their version of the song, displaying a new generation for what is to come.  In between songs, Bowling for Soup did their usual banter moments , a good way to lift up the spirits of fans which not a lot of bands can do , to acknowledge fans and just treat the show as one big family and just generally have fun because they can.   “Just remember, we are the band that you can always wave to” said Jaret as the band and audience waved at eachother which is always quite funny to see.   They also did the photo opportunity thing which they do at every tour , which is amusing because it’s like an in joke of how everyone always takes photos at shows so they did it anyway.

Other highlights of the show were  when after Jaret played Prettiest girl in the world with his other band member, Ryan Hamilton of the band, People on Vacation who then happened to basically hi-jack the show and proposed to his girlfriend on stage which had one of the biggest reactions from the crowd of the night. A lot of spontaneous moments can happen at  a Bowling for Soup show.  The band played some cover songs, such as the always memorable and on-going joke of Stacey’s mom , a song originally by Fountains of Wayne yet a lot of people still  believe the band made the song. The fans went in to guilty pleasure mode as the band played Baby hit me one more time by Britney Spears, and as I look at everyone around me, some not singing but a look on their faces that they were definitely hiding their emotions from enjoying the cover.  At some point of the night, the London crowd made chants that amused the band but after a while , they went back on track to doing what the band does best.

3 hours of fun, songs and memorable points later , Bowling for soup ended with 1985 as an encore. They bought on a fan on to the stage to play the song for them , and with the encouragement (and some booing) from the crowd, he played intensely with the band whilst his friend(who admittedly didn’t know how to play the 1985) stage dived  at the drop of the second half of the song.
And with that, as I watched the venue blow up with confetti, the show ended up on an emotional high with the best send off to a band that influenced a life time of fans.
3 hours didn’t feel long because I stood with people that knew and respected the band, that grew up listening to the band that now some have kids who then bought them to the shows ,some now in their 20’s and the understanding of who Bowling for Soup is
With tears in my eyes welling up , I walked out of the venue, with the constant realisation of comfort for the band that has influenced and shaped my teenage life will always have my 11 years and counting of support.

A new era has started.

2013, 22 years old and I’m standing in a room at the Hammersmith Apollo and just sang every word at a Bowling for Soup concert for the last time.

Sarah Tsang

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