Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, 03/04/2014
Barrowlands, Glasgow, 04/04/2014
I’d bought tickets to see the Manics in Glasgow on the Friday way back at the tail end of last year, both for myself, but also as a Christmas present for my parents. Discovering a few weeks back that they’d be supported by The Twilight Sad was a more than pleasant surprise, and this led me to end up at Thursday’s Edinburgh show as well. The Corn Exchange isn’t as appealing a venue as the Barrowlands, but I’d seen the Manics here once before (about 3/4 years back) and they were terrific.
The Twilight Sad kicked us off just after 8pm with a short 6 song set covering their 3 studio albums, and giving the crowd a sample of some of their best songs. They got a pretty great reception for a support act, with the venue filling up early to check them out. Perhaps this was to do with them being Scottish, but I’d prefer to think it was to do with them being a terrific live act. They got an even bigger cheer from the audience when lead singer James mentioned that the Manics were the first band he saw live, and one of their records was the first record he owned. Their set was the perfect warm up for the Manics, and finishing with fan favourite ‘And She Would Darken The Memory’ was an excellent choice.
The Manics took to the stage just after 9pm and burst into a terrific three song salvo to kick things off, with ‘Show Me The Wonder’, ‘You Stole The Sun From My Heart’ and ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ really getting the crowd going. Between the two nights, the sets were broadly similar, although in Glasgow proceedings kicked off with ‘La Tristesse Durera’, and the set missed out on ‘This Is Yesterday’ and ’30-Year War’. After a career spanning 25 years, and over 10 studio albums, the band have no shortage of material to play, and they mostly succeed in putting together a set that combines the most recent album, a couple of new tracks, fan favourites and some lesser known album tracks to appeal to the whole audience. We were also treated to a couple of new tracks off their forthcoming album ‘Futurology’, one of which was the title track which sounded OK based on first impressions, and the exceedingly catchy ‘Europa Geht Durch Mich’ which by the second night was well and truly in my head!
During the set, James Dean Bradfield took the opportunity to mention that this year is the 20th anniversary of their seminal album ‘The Holy Bible’ and we were treated to the rarely played ‘Archives of Pain’, ‘Die In The Summertime’ and also ‘This Is Yesterday’ as part of the acoustic section. The acoustic section is always one of the highlights of the show, and its performance on both nights probably summed up the difference between Edinburgh & Glasgow crowds. Whilst the Glasgow crowd was undoubtedly more ‘up’ for the gig than their Edinburgh counterparts, this led to a really disappointing reaction during the acoustic section where far too many people took the opportunity to have a chat and drown out Bradfield’s singing. That was really disappointing, particularly when the crowd was nigh on silent in Edinburgh during this section. Perhaps that’s why there was only 2 songs played acoustically in Glasgow, as opposed to 3 in Edinburgh.
Anyway, that’s my little moan over as the rest of the concert was terrific. ‘Your Love Alone Is Not Enough’ got one of the best reactions of the night, and is clearly the most popular track from the bands most recent output, although I did feel (like ‘This Sullen Welsh Heart’) that it was missing the female vocals to really hit the mark. A minor complaint, but a complaint nonetheless. Towards the end of the set, the hits just kept coming, from ‘Tsunami’ and ‘You Love Us’ to their only number 1 single, ‘The Masses Against The Classes’, which was outstanding. Crazy to think that a band like the Manics had a number 1 single only 15 years ago; the current musical landscape makes it virtually impossible for an ‘indie’ band to get a number 1 single these days, which is a shame to be honest!
As always with the Manics, no time for encores, and the intro of ‘Into The Valley’ by The Skids welcomes us into the raucous ‘Motown Junk’ before finishing with standard set closer ‘A Design for Life’. A fantastic end to a fantastic concert, and after 25 years together, there’s a lot of life left in this little band from Wales.
Cold Days From The Birdhouse
I Became a Prostitute
Kill It In The Morning (I think it was this anyway!)
Reflection of the Television
And She Would Darken The Memory
Manic Street Preachers
Show Me The Wonder (Edinburgh)/La Tristesse Durera (Scream to a Sigh) (Glasgow)
You Stole The Sun From My Heart
(It’s Not War) Just The End of Love
Europa Geht Durch Mich
Everything Must Go
Rewind The Film
Die In The Summertime
Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next
This Is Yesterday (Acoustic) (Edinburgh Only)
From Despair To Where (Acoustic)
This Sullen Welsh Heart (Acoustic)
Archives of Pain
The Masses Against The Classes
You Love Us
30-Year War (Edinburgh)/Show Me The Wonder (Glasgow)
A Design For Life