I returned home from the gold-lined streets of the nation’s capital yesterday, weary and wan but contented. It had proved a splendid day and a half in ‘the smoke’ shopping and strolling and, importantly, enjoying an evening of that new-fangled rock music at the large and impressive Barbican Centre. Spiritualized presented the whole of their classic 1997 long player Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space and, my word, ‘twas a mesmerizing, loud and wondrous event. This album has only recently soared into my consciousness and I’ve grown to admire its melodic and introspective allure. This concert enhanced its reputation. A wide, wide stage housed a large number of people; band leader Jason Pierce sat to the right, dressed casually but wearing a huge pair of sunglasses and oversaw a traditional rock line-up, a lively brass section, an intense collective of string musicians and a stylish, riddimic and white-robed gospel choir. Heck it sounded great and from the Cole party’s excellent vantage point (three rows from the front) looked remarkable too. A lot has been written about this recording and its personal nature and its advocation of, er, pharmaceutical usage to help ‘take the pain away’ but challenging and passionate subject matter is nothing without strong tunes and Ladies and Gentlemen... contains a significant number of soaringly beautiful moments which swept over a delighted Barbican audience. I’d suggest the album doubled in length in the live format and this punter approved; longer renditions of the songs allowed hypnotic grooviness to caress the ears and presented fabulous opportunities for the superb musicians to proffer their skills and talents. It was a marvellous night. Here’s a cheeky clip from Youtube.