Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Source

Jay-ZJay-Z via

I have always wanted to travel the world to experience different destinations, lifestyles and cultures. I have the courage to do it, but I don't have the money and I couldn't leave my children, family and friends. Anyway, not to be sombre; leaving drinks were in order yesterday as two friends are to embark on a quest around our beautiful planet.

I'm an outsider in the group, all the better to eat them with as the element of surprise is so rewarding! I heard mentioned that Las Vegas may be a possible destination and if that's true I may well participate in that because it's somewhere I have always wanted to visit! The night was dictated by Jay Z and custom masks which were an interesting combination. I managed to become photography for the evening and captured some fantastic moments from the showpiece. Good times! Afterwards I travelled to a house party to meet up with my partner, the night went well and we eventually attempted to sleep in the smallest bunk bed ever before being evicted! With the rain pouring I've got 99 problems and no umbrella...
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Friday, February 26, 2010


La felicidad de sentirse parte (Up)Image by Planocenital via Flickr

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon
Watched Up this evening, the film is about Carl Fredrickson who's introduced as a shy and quiet boy. Through a mutual admiration for renowned explorer Charles F. Muntz he befriends an energetic tomboy named Ellie. Her ambition is to move her clubhouse to Paradise Falls, detailed in her personal scrapbook, she makes him promise to help her, which he does. The pair eventually get married but inevitably financial obligations arise that prevent them travelling. Just as they're finally about to make the voyage, Ellie becomes ill and dies, leaving Carl a lonely and bitter widower.

After a disagreement about a mailbox, Carl receives a court order to move him into a retirement home. Determined to fulfill his promise to Ellie, Carl and a young Wilderness Explorer named Russell embark on a journey to South America in a floating house suspended from helium balloons. The movie is warm and full of emotion, I totally wasn't expecting to have sad face within the first ten minutes and the introduction of Kevin and Dug added an additional layer to the story! Definitely recommended, Pixar have produced another classic! The story made me think about the quote from John Lennon that leads this post which I feel accurately portrays the
underlying message. Sometimes we allow life to dictate what we do too much, the plans and promises we shelf could become something that we later regret! Live for the moment...
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

This Could Be Big

You are on Facebook, reading your News Feed.Image by Zach Hale via Flickr

A news feed is a format used for providing users with frequently updated content. Making a collection of web feeds accessible in one spot is known as aggregation, which is performed by an aggregator. Facebook has been awarded a major patent for “Dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network” -
Essentially it includes the generation of feed stories followed by the limiting of viewers of those stories. As many avid followers of the social networking space know, the feed (also called the “stream”) has become one of the central components of online social activity.
This is an interesting development in the social networking space and I'm curious how Facebook will decide to enforce this patent. Like other writers I hope this is defensive and that this doesn't become a major loss for the rest of the social web.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Clean This Mess

Oh the society! Oh the networking!!Image by ° ρЯίтΛм ° [busy] via Flickr

There are numerous benefits to having an organized space, being more productive, less time searching for relevence, less clutter, increased attention, engagement and more control. I have many friends online across various sites and the ability to streamline the chaos provides many benefits.

The sheer number of people that use Facebook is incredible, I believe that the majority of people I know are on the social network. I could probably count those not active on Facebook on one hand because the site has become core to social interaction and status.

It's widely acknowledged that Facebook change site more than gypsies, but there are features available that with a little work will keep the experience efficient and rewarding. I use Lists and Filters to organise the newsfeed and this post summarises the process. I have had friends contact me as they wanted to introduce more control to the social network and I will make sure to point them in the direction of this resource.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nothing But Kind Words

Bombay Bicycle Club - Subcity Radio SessionImage by subcityphotos via Flickr

Arrived at the O2 Academy Brixton, full of excitement for the closing night of the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour in London. The Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle Club, Big Pink and Drums provided the live performances for a rapturous finale.

Demand for tickets meant that I had to purchase mine from the touts that frequent the area around the O2 Academy. I had earlier managed to acquire a ticket from friends but due to weekend tube work affecting travel; I relented to the preying touts but at a reasonable price! I was disappointed to miss the performances from Big Pink and the Drums, especially as Big Pink's stage dived into the crowd during 'Dominos'.

The Unreserved Circle ticket I had purchased, only postponed the inevitable entrance to the Standing Area, I found passage through with some persuasion. Anticipation for the remaining two acts was at fever pitch, Bombay Bicycle Club took to the stage and the place erupted. Personally I felt that BBC - I'm too cool - should have headlined because they're performance was energetic and inspiring. We managed to get covered in drink but I must shoulder some of the blame there.. I haven't managed to find their Set List online but Open House provided the biggest reaction of the night. Maybe I'm biased but considering how young they are, they have become an incredible talent.

South London's Maccabees are a sharper, louder, and more confident live proposition these days, the headline status ends a fantastic 12 months. The band came up with the name by flicking through the Bible and picking out a random word, more innovative than being named after an Indian restaurant on King's Road! The set was amazing, Love You Better and No Kind Words proved to be the anthemic moments of an incredible evening. Edwyn Collins joined the Maccabees on stage for Rip It Up and everyone piled onto the stage at the end to close the tour.

Maccabees Set List -

William Powers
One Hand Holding
All In Your Rows
Wall Of Arms
Precious Time
Young Lions
Can You Give It
Toothpaste Kisses
First Love
No Kind Words
Bag Of Bones
Rip It Up
Love You Better

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Assembly Required

Mosh Pit Warped Tour 2005Image by mikeinlondon via Flickr

I recently attended the O2 Brixton Academy and wrote that I regarded it as one of London's leading music venues. I focused on the atmosphere, crowd participation and the area referred to as the mosh pit. Tonight, Brixton Academy had competition, my brothers band the Internal Skars were hosting an event at the local Social Club. The night was an emphatic success and defined as the best the band had experienced!

A significant family representation, accompanied by partners who were there to participate in the proceedings. The proverbial roof being 'raised' was an understatement, much to the enthusiasm, energy and stampede of friends, family and fans. There's so much more depth to moshing, I have been introduced to a variety of different scenarios. The personal favourite being swung around, slight concern that I would ricochet around the venue but impressive regardless! The youngest sibling has much to learn about participation as he spectated and decided to leave early because it wasn't his scene. Seriously, I don't understand that approach but then I suppose he has time to acquire the credentials!!!

Set List -

Ode To A Dying Fool
Never Loved You Anyway
Dirty Bitch
Circus Clown
Financial Breakdown
Mental Patient
Out Of Line
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Listing All Those Empty Homes Out There

Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase

I'm sure that you have seen the 'Keep it Safe. Keep it Hidden. Keep it Locked' commercials that provide useful advice on how best to keep your property safe. Basics like shutting windows and locking car doors even when you are only gone for a minute, or keeping your eye on your bag, can be all that it takes to prevent crime. There's another element involved now as through the increased popularity of location-based services and check-in games, we're advertising to the everyone when we're away from our homes.

Please Rob Me has a humorous approach, providing a stream of updates from various location-based networks that shows when users check-in somewhere that is not their home. They state that the intention is not, and never has been, to have people burgled. The point is to raise awareness about this potentially dangerous location-based issue.

From the site -
The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you're definitely not... home. So here we are; on one end we're leaving lights on when we're going on a holiday, and on the other we're telling everybody on the Internet we're not home. It gets even worse if you have "friends" who want to colonize your house. That means they have to enter your address, to tell everyone where they are. Your address.. on the Internet.. Now you know what to do when people reach for their phone as soon as they enter your home. That's right, slap them across the face.

The goal of this website is to raise some awareness on this issue and have people think about how they use services like Foursquare, Brightkite, Google Buzz etc. Because all this site is, is a dressed up Twitter search page. Everybody can get this information.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Plant The Seeds

The second largest state, Texas, is only 40% o...Image via Wikipedia

South by Southwest (SXSW) is a music, film, and interactive conference and festival that takes place every spring in Austin, Texas. SXSW is one of the largest music festivals in the United States, with more than 1,400 performers playing in more than 80 venues around Austin over four days, in March.

I really want need to attend SXSW but it remains a pipe dream at the moment. I'm interested in everything available, especially the SXSW® Music and Media Conference that showcases hundreds of musical acts from around the globe. Also available is the SXSW® Interactive that features five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. Finally there's the SXSW® Film Conference and Festival which provides a uniquely creative environment featuring the dynamic convergence of talent, smart audiences and industry heavyweights.

The reason for this post and the background information is to provide readers with the following torrent/s that includes all the MP3 files publicly available on the SXSW website. Enjoy, I have been listening to the MP3's available and there are several artists that I feel have real potential!
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Monday, February 15, 2010

From The Playground

Image representing as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase is a popular Internet radio site for music, founded in 2002. Using a music recommendation system called "Audioscrobbler", builds a detailed profile of each user's musical taste by recording details of the songs the user listens to, either from Internet radio stations, or the user's computer or many portable music devices.

The ‘Playground‘, is an experimental section of the site similar to Google’s Labs. Martin Bryant UK Editor, The Next Web reports that a new Scrobbling Timeline has just been launched that is open to everyone -
The graph shows exactly how many songs you have listened to throughout your membership of the service, picking out key milestones like your 5000th track or your 10,000th.

You can compare your graph with that of your friends and a ‘cumulative’ mode shows how quickly you’re adding to your overall total of songs listened to. is an impressive service and I have wrote several times about the benefits available to users. I rate being able to discover new and exciting artists and the event recommendations have provided many memorable nights recently. As Martin states in the post are sitting on a lot of interesting listening data and I hope we see further innovations like this graph!

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Three Little Words

Cupid and Psyche (Amor und Psyche)Image by Sachyn via Flickr

February 14th represents the celebration of love and affection between intimate companions. According to Wikipedia, heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid are symbols of modern Valentine's Day.

I agree with Wikipedia that handwritten valentines have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards but there's always room to enhance and introduce innovation. The gifts we exchanged were personal and the appreciation was rewarding!

The weekends appear to be getting shorter, the children's activities passed and the hourglass that represents time flowed quickly passed! We spent the weekend together but were only alone when we travelled to Shoreditch, Vibe Bar provided a live performance and an entertaining backdrop that was both inspirational and disturbing! Several restaurants beckoned but the Brick Lane bagels were the most desired and didn't disappoint. The journey home provided an intimate detour and I'm sure that I smelt bacon at one point...

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Your Focus Determines Your Reality

Ewan McGregor (left) as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Hay...Image via Wikipedia

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. - J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Address
The reappearance of the too familiar disturbance in the force has been noted recently and has almost become a cliché. Rearing it's ugly head to the disappointment of those that desire greeting cards. John Lennon established while The Beatles were officially still together in 1969, that we should Give Peace A Chance. It's better to have a diplomatic approach because I got soul but I'm not a soldier! The journey home provided insight although no significant value, I appreciated the conversation but we shouldn't need intervention. Children were in good spirits and after meeting my partner I was relaxed after another week reached conclusion..
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Facebook Mobile Growth

Illustration of Facebook mobile interfaceImage via Wikipedia

Facebook hit another milestone in their relentless push to own the Internets. They want as many people as possible to be able to access the social network and now boast that 100 million people actively use Facebook from their mobile devices every month. This makes Facebook Mobile bigger than Twitter!

That's an incredible statistic and this comes less than six months after they announced 65 million people on Facebook Mobile. Providing support for all major device manufacturers including Nokia, Android, Windows Mobile, Sidekick, Blackberry, INQ, Sony Ericsson, Palm and the iPhone.

This growth rate looks set to continue as Facebook adds more mobile users faster than it is adding web users! I'm always checking what's happening on the social network and with Push Notifications and the increased potential as a news reader; I'm hooked. I feel that the Events could be improved though because recommendations based on Pages and import habits could open many possibilities. have a great system in place based on listening preferences and incorporating similar functionality would be a further lock-in fearture. What features would you like to see improved?

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Buzz Gives The Early Adopters A Woody

Buzz LightyearImage by TDR1 via Flickr

Google: We believe that the social web works best when it works like the rest of the web — many sites linked together by simple open standards. Rather than launching with a one-off API, we see Buzz as a tremendous opportunity to work with the community to create and support open protocols for the next generation of social web apps and websites. To kick things off, Buzz is launching with support for public activity feeds and offers users the option to connect their favorite sites to their Buzz activity feed using open protocols. In the near future we plan to greatly expand the scope of these developer services, and we'd like you to be a part of that process.

I'm a protagonist of the Internet, social networking and new media; I'll argue that the latest startup, service, innovation etc provides value until it becomes surplus to requirements. Google are always unveiling new toys for our digital consumption. The latest offering is Google Buzz (Light-Wave) and there is the expected clamour as everyone provides their opinion and details how the service can be improved! I rate the service as Google have applied the Friendfeed blueprint and released it to infinity and beyond the mainstream! Are mainstream users ready for a product like Buzz? Probably not but innovation shouldn't have boundaries, I respect Google for releasing this product into the wild and not an opt-in feature within Labs. Google Buzz is a social networking and messaging tool designed to integrate into the company's web-based email program, Gmail. Users can share links, photos, videos, status messages and comments organized in "conversations" and visible in the user's inbox. To prevent being overwhelmed I applied a filter to remove the buzz notifications from my inbox which works. Some users are complaining about privacy but as Mark Zuckerberg stated recently 'The Age of Privacy is Over' so anyone upset should buzz off!

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Monday, February 08, 2010

I Blame Koko

Crowd at KokoImage by Kikishua via Flickr

The Tesco Entertainment Album Chart Show features performances from new and established acts at London's Koko club in Camden. Tonight JLS, Mika and the Courteeners performed and we were there to experience the action. With a triple platinum selling debut number one album, two number one singles and two MOBOs. They may not have won X Factor but JLS have gone on to become the UK’s hottest band.

In front of a majority Indie crowd, the foursome were always going to endure a fair amount of banter and we responded accordingly. Mimicking their dance routine and providing heart shaped signs with our hands, I felt that our appreciation was well received! I'm sure that when this event is shown on television that we are going to be the most active fans at the front of the stage area. Disappointed that the band opted to just lip-sync but I didn't even know they were making an appearance. Mika was next to perform songs from his album The Boy Who Knew Too Much. I really enjoyed his performance and I want the custom belt he taunted me with as he lept about the stage in an energetic manner. The evening ended with the Courteeners, I have read that lead singer Liam Fray personifies the typical Manchester front man. Although on this performance he was under par! I managed to clash with the video camera and our group were eventually told to calm down. Overall an impressive return for the Album Chart Show and I will be watching the shows on television and awaiting the invitation for the next installment!
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Sunday, February 07, 2010

A Bath Is Not A Bowl

Two children bathing in a small metal bath tubImage via Wikipedia

A bath is a plumbing fixture used for bathing. A bathtub is usually placed in a bathroom either as a stand-alone fixture or in conjunction with a shower.
Yesterday evening I ventured out to exercise; the destination a local nightclub and the usual social networking but not from behind a computer screen.

There were a few people I knew in attendance and I embraced the opportunity to interact and talk about Dean Richards?! During a conversation we were interrupted by someone who wanted to point out that we were wearing chequered shirts. In response I stated that we arranged beforehand and then attempted to come onto him as I detailed that I had been watching him manoeuvre across the dance floor. He departed swiftly and looked uneasy whenever I approached him for the rest of the evening. I must have applied something differently because several people commented on my appearance with one male informing that I was very attractive. I admit that I found it difficult to navigate my head through the exit as I departed to meet my partner who had retired early to have a bath....
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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Where Are My Presents.....

BoyImage by joedawson via Flickr

It only seems yesterday that we we're celebrating the beginning of the year, I can't believe that we're already in February! We've been constantly reminded about a certain birthday recently, today it arrived and I now have a seven year old son. The organisation for the weekend has been questionable as the children's mother wasn't able to confirm her plans, instead she allocated a short time in the afternoon. Not ideal but we wanted to make the most of the time we shared with him and opted for bowling.

We have actively played Wii Sports on the Nintendo Wii over the festive period and were quietly confident that form would continue! We were mislead although my brother managed to play consistently and set a decent score. The afternoon was great fun as everyone was there to participate and my son enjoyed himself. He lost interest towards the end slightly but I suspect that's because we had consumed the contents of almost every helium balloon that were distributed across the venue for decoration. After the two games we descended into the Arcade area and although we didn't play billiards/pool we were eventually covered in chalk and resembled Noddy and Friends as we made our way through the exit! Happy birthday Boy and looking forward to attending a Chelsea Football Club home match soon!!
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Friday, February 05, 2010

From Here To Brixton Academy, The *People* Dance

Jamie T @ Puregroove 03/07/06Image by neil365 via Flickr

The O2 Brixton Academy, is one of London's leading music venues, voted venue of the year twelve times since 1994 in the annual NME Awards. Attracting big names the venue has seen many famous bands perform there. In 2008; N*E*R*D performed and I was there and thought that they were immense. The intimate venue really captures the atmosphere, providing electric sound and there's always great crowd participation!

Tonight I travelled to the O2 Brixton Academy to watch Jamie T & The Pacemakers perform. The support slot was provided by Chester P; I'm unfamiliar with his material but he managed to set the tempo well for the main event. After what felt like an age, the lights dimmed and Jamie T took to the stage. Stood alone, basked in the spotlight and with the admiration from the vocal crowd he played a poignant rendition of St Christopher, before being joined by The Pacemakers. The band then launched into latest single The Man’s Machine, and then favourites So Lonely Was The Ballad, Salvador, If You Got The Money and Back In The Game.

We occupied the area in front of the stage which is typically referred to as the mosh pit. Throughout the performance the mosh pit became an invigorating wave of carnage as the crowd aggressively pushed and slammed into each other. People attempted to crowd surf and we managed to throw someone a fair distance, although the receiving fans were unable to return the serve! Game, Set, Match!! The onslaught continued onstage with Operation and Northern Line, I was impressed with my partner who was able to hold her own amid the surging crowds. The encore consisted of Chaka Demus, Spider’s Web and Sticks ‘n’ Stones, I wasn't able to obtain the Set list so apologies if the track listings aren't complete. Overall I really enjoyed the evening and was relieved to return to the car and not find a parking ticket; due to the appetite of the machine! I aim to return to the O2 Brixton Academy for the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour later this month and would welcome a similar experience!!

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

He Bangs The Drums

Purple Turtle, Camden Town, NW1Image by Ewan-M via Flickr

The Purple Turtle is a venue situated in the heart of London’s music scene, located near Mornington Crescent station and in close proximity to Koko, showcasing some of the most exciting new indie and rock acts. I travelled there this evening to catch my brother's band the Internal Skars. He rarely tells us where he is playing but he was hyped for this performance, I have had several eventful nights in Camden recently and was full of anticipation.

The performance was impressive, I experienced them perform before Christmas when my brother was a new addition to the band. Then I recall he had written the chords on the snare drum, tonight he was much more confident and the band definitely provided the performance of the evening. After the set I was provided with an Internal Skars CD which I will make sure to familiarise with before I next attend. I was stood at the bar watching the acts, when I was approached by 'artists' who thought that I was a bass player based on my clothes and wanted me to join their band! I politely declined but was silently impressed, I look like I could be a bass player!! I was then consumed with impulsive desires to indulge in guitar lessons, I felt like Mr. Toad, Esq., from the novel The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. As with every night; it must reach an end! I managed to secure transportation but would probably have been quicker (and safer) travelling by London Transport as the driver opted for the scenic route. The show must go on...

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Can Facebook Become A Mainstream News Reader?

How To Create A Facebook Page In Four Minutes ...Image by johnscotthaydon via Flickr

Came across an interesting article about Facebook by Marshall Kirkpatrick who feels that Facebook Could Become World's Leading News Reader. Marshall Kirkpatrick is the lead writer at ReadWriteWeb which prompted my interest in technology, social media and the Internet. These early adopters; they know what they're talking about:
Facebook is a publishing, syndication and subscription platform where the interests of the reader, the publisher and the platform provider are all in sync. That's powerful. Subscription through Facebook may be sterile, hermetically sealed and controlled by one too-powerful communication company but it works. Facebook clearly has an opportunity to become the subscription mechanism of choice for hundreds of millions of readers and for millions of publishing organizations. That's a good place for any company to be.
I'm subscribed to 200 pages on Facebook and would be subscribed to more if it were easier to locate the Pages associated with the feeds within Google Reader. I'm not interested in the "quotes" Pages because I don't feel they add any significant value but I subscribe to many artists, agencies and news outlets. The value they provide has many benefits because I'm able to communicate directly with Pages, I receive updates where I'm most active, popular news and tour announcements. Brands should maintain and regularly update Pages because with 400 million users; Facebook is kind of a big deal on the Internet! What are your thoughts?!

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

In Search Of

miike snow @ stereoImage by via Flickr

Miike Snow are a Swedish electro-indie act, who formed in 2007. The band consists of Andrew Wyatt, and the producing team of Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg. Tonight I travelled to The Scala, Kings Cross for the NME Awards Show featuring Wolf Gang, Theophilus London and Miike Snow with those influenced by peer pressure. The night actually started at London Bridge station, the rendezvous point, although when did McDonalds start serving Vodka?!

Eventually we arrived at Kings Cross and my partner and her sister made their entrance; I had to rely on the powers of persuasion and the preying touts. I succeeded and joined them before the opening act! We occupied the bar area for the Wolf Gang set but took position when Theophilus London began his performance. He was a likable character and got the crowd behind him even with technical issues that affected the microphone. Wasn't too sure about the provocative dance moves but the female he pulled from the crowd appeared to be impressed! Eventually Miike Myers Snow filtered onto the stage like a scene from Halloween wearing white face masks and bathed in laser light. The set started with a slow momentum; Cult Logic building onto Burial before the more upbeat Black & Blue. The masks were then removed and it was down to business. I'm familiar with their album and was impressed with the sound quality and innovative mixing that at times was exceptional. A Horse Is Not A Home was followed by the powerful Silvia which captivated the crowd. Plastic Jungle was followed by Sans Soleil before the favourite Animal got everyone involved! The night finished with an extended version of In Search Of and closed an inspiring performance. I even managed to secure the setlist, again!

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