Manic Street Preachers 

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3 April 2001

"Worth the wait!" - sadly, this triumvirate of textuoisity doesn't do full justice to the 3/4/01 Manics gig, to be perfectly honest. I could just throw a list of superlatives at you, but I won't. In admission, I do approach this review with a slightly skewed attitude, being a decided FAN (as opposed to merely 'fan') of the Manics, but believe me, what follows is just about as objective as I'll ever get.

Now, for any of you who read the above as a prelude to a shredding of the Boys From Blackwood, fear not, pretty much everything I have to say is good. Damn good.

That the crowd were keen to sample some Manics soufflé was evident from the healthy portion of short-shrift doled out to the unfortunate but pluckily unrepentant support act, Starsailor. Suffice to say that when the Manics did appear, they went down a storm, kicking out the jams and adding a touch of glittery glam (well, Nicky Wire, plus mini skirt and bunny-ears, followed later by angelic ensemble).

The set kicked off with Found That Soul (unsurprisingly, it being the opening track to Know Your Enemy, and having opened all of the Manics' prior smaller-venue gigs this year), whose growling guitar and furiously-hammered keyboards provided the perfect opener for what was to be a thoroughly polished and positive performance. A well balanced mélange of tunes from the 'old' and 'new' followed, with firm favourites (Motorcycle Emptiness, Faster, You Love Us and Motown Junk) being pitted against newer, decidedly jollier stuff (So Why So Sad?, Miss Europa Disco Dancer). To this delightful brew were added a soup-çon of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, a pinch of This Is Yesterday, and a trickle of If You Tolerate This.. to the general delight of the very bouncy, appreciative crowd. James and Co. visibly appeared to relish the atmosphere, with the former living out his stadium rock fantasies by beginning Motown Junk with Paradise City (Guns'n'Roses).

Needless to say, the tunes were top-class. However, much respect must also go to the crowd. Now, I'm not the smallest or lightest of people, but there were a good many in the crowd who were. Those less substantial souls who were in the pit and found themselves in difficulty were, I was happy to
see, being helped out by their chunkier counterparts. A 'nice' aspect of a thoroughly electric gig.

Review by Ben Glasgow

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