I’d been given a couple of tickets to go and see Elvis Costello’s career review recording at the BBC, hosted by Jools Holland. I went with Melissa, my girlfriend, but we almost didn’t go as it was the England vs The Netherlands match in the last group game in Euro 96. A game we needed to win or draw to go through to the knockout stages, The match was shown on ITV so upon arrival at the BBC we were devoid of any information as they only had (unsurprisingly) BBC channels playing outside the recording studio – and it was long before the days of being able to do anything other than make phone calls on your mobile phone… although it wasn’t until the following year that I actually got my first mobile in any case.
We were all ushered in to the recording studio, given some complimentary drinks and waited for the show to begin. Unlike regular gigs this was different on a number of levels. No support band, no DJ playing music in prepartion, TV cameras positioned in various places for the best shots of the stage and also the crowd, specific places where we could stand for the show, etc. Certainly nowhere near as free flowing as you’d be at a real gig.
Before Jools Holland came on to do his introduction one of the assistants came out and gave the news that a lot of people were wanting to hear… England were winning the match 2-0! There was a big cheer from the crowd, and a slight tension was noticably lifted from parts of the audience. This new boyance became even bigger a few minutes later when he came back and said the score was 3-0! To be beating the Dutch 3-0 was hardly believable but… wow fantastic! Just before Jools came on five minutes later a last announcement was made that England were now 4-0 ahead. Whilst cheers were loud I think some of us began to think that someone was beginning to pull our legs with the score in order to make the crowd really upbeat and happy before the show. There was no way that England would be able to beat The Netherlands 4-0, so what was really going on?
Well, without mobiles there was no way of knowing and before we knew it Jools Holland was on the stage giving his introduction for an evening of Elvis Costello. Elvis came on stage and promptly proceeded to play hit after hit after hit.
We finally got out at 11.40pm, having had a really good evening. We headed down to the Underground and caught one of the last tubes back home… thankfully it was still in the days were Underground trains in London had guards in the last carriage, so we got in to the last carriage and asked him what the football score was.
4-1 to England!