The Manic Street Preachers at First Direct Arena, Leeds

Words: Joanne Marsland

One of my favourite bands The Manic Street Preachers played The First Direct Arena in Leeds on Wednesday night. They were supported by The Coral who kicked off their set with Chasing the tail of a dream and also played hits such as pass it on and in the morning to which most of the crowd sung along .

They ended with a great song Dreaming of you and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them as they are not a band I have listened to.

The crowd errupted when The Manics took to the stage going straight in with International Blue from their new album Resistance is Futile. And what better way to keep the crowd pumped than by throwing Motorcycle Emptiness and All surface no feeling in right at the beginning. Distant Colours, my favourite song from the new album was next and was sung beautifully by James.

We then had some mischievious banter as Nicky asked the crowd to go easy on James because his favourite Gibson guitars had just filed for bankruptcy, joking that at least his guitars will be worth a fortune now.
The next batch of hits included Your love alone is not enough, You stole the sun from my heart, The masses against the classes and Everything must go as well as Grace of God, Dylan and Caitlin with Wayne Murray providing backing vocals, jazz inspired B side Horses under Starlight and Forever delayed.

Just as If you tolerate this your children will be next began James fell over one of the monitors but quickly recovered and after being handed a replacement guitar sung his heart out as if nothing had happened although at the end he said ‘Well that fu**ing hurt a bit’.

The rest of the band took a break while James played 3 acoustic numbers. Faster was dedicated to former band mate Richey Edwards with James and the crowd going back and forth with each line and old clips of the band playing on the screen behind. He then payed tribute to Wales and Leeds United legend Gary Speed with Can’t take my eyes off you and finished with Stay beautiful allowing the crowd to chant the last 2 words of the chorus.
The band returned to the stage with fan favourite You love us which recharged the crowd. The next batch of songs included Walk me to the bridge, Tsunami, beautiful new track Hold me like a heaven, Let Robeson sing which Nicky dedicated to Leeds born poet Tony Harrison, People give in and Slash n burn. The night ended, usual no encore, with the anthem A design for life and it sounded outstanding. James, Nicky and Sean sang and played every song with 100% heart, soul and effort from start to finish and I can’t imagine anyone left the gig disappointed.

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