Chemical Brothers live at Sheffield Octagon, 10th May 1999, by John Allsopp
I only found out about this gig a few days before so I didn't have much of a chance to get excited, but I turned up at Sheffield Octagon after an hour's drive, got in, and settled down in an (obviously) Octagon-shaped all-standing venue.
The sound in this hall was unbelievable. I don't know if the CB's used different sound engineers for their later show at Blackpool (it wasn't in the same league), but they'd got it spot on. A PA stack in all eight corners, the bass was like soup, you could taste it. The volume was just short of uncomfortable for all frequencies, wherever in the hall you were, giving the fullest possible experience of the most fantastic rhythms I've ever heard.
I closed my eyes (frankly, there's not a lot to see at a Chemical Brothers gig) and drank in the sound, let it take me wherever, and take me it did. Now I'm known to be emotionally stable. I'm a 39 year old ex-punk so I've seen good gigs and bad. I saw this gig sober and drug-free. But this was the very best. This took my emotions, spun them high and smashed them low. I couldn't speak for days afterwards. I didn't listen to any music for weeks, and then only the CBs for months. Even now (August 2001) I'm still affected .. nothing's as good.
I've never taken hard drugs, but this felt like a drug. I was high on the gig for a few days, then fell low. That moment was my best moment. Never to be repeated. I'd witnessed the best, it was downhill from here. I considered following the tour to Brazil .. and I still think I should have. I'd have given up everything. Maybe that's how people who convert to religion feel. The Chemical Brotherhood, hmmmm.