I got into Television through the copious "thanks" notes in the Minutemen's Ballot Result album, along with Creedence, Wire, X, Richard Hell and more. The chances of ever seeing them live were always pretty slim, so this gig at the Patti Smith curated Meltdown festival was a high priority. Richard Hell was also in the festival and for a brief moment I even thought he might be rejoining Television for the night. As it turns out he was wise to get out when he did, as this was one of the most dissapointing gigs I've ever been to.
Shows kick of pretty punctually at the QEH, and it's all seating - which never helps with the atmosphere of a rock concert. Television came on with no support, but to much adulation from the crowd. They then played for about 90 minutes, mainly focusing on their much lesser know 90's songs from the album Television, plus a few of the best tracks on Marquee Moon. They seemed very unrehearsed and totally at odds with each other on stage. Tom Verlaine's authority as band leader was sadly lacking... plus he couldn't get his guitar tuned properly (a chimp75 pet gripe), trying between almost every song. Guitarist Richard Lloyd held things together for a while with some guitar hero solos, before he also fell to tuning issues and started blowing a few clams. Most songs wandered of in 'interesting' directions before generally grinding to an abrupt halt. Even Marquee Moon itself was pretty lacklustre, and while the crowd were urging the gig to be great it just never took off.
The band cut off stage pretty abruptly, before returning for an encore with Patti Smith - which focused things a bit, with a version of You I Rate. That was followed by a rockin intro to a cover of the Count Five's Psychotic Reaction, before Verlaine seemed to realise he didn't know the rest of the lyrics. That final song just melted away... and it was over.