Support: In Case Of Fire
The playing of full albums live has always been something I have had mixed views on. I have never been convinced that they work in truth. They can be a little gimmicky. A way to sell tickets I guess. Album gigs can be a strange as the pacing and track order of an album does not necessarily mean the pacing of those songs in that order for a concert will be suitable. It can lead to gigs that are disjointed and the crowd can lose the momentum that otherwise would be built up by the normal pacing of a show. For all my reservations though I realised that this concert was going to be different as the album in question had special meaning.
On this tour the Manics are playing the full Journal For Plague Lovers album. An album full of emotion for the band as its songs are all based on lyrics from deceased / missing guitarist Richie Edwards. It is after all the first time that James, Nicky and Sean have felt able to use the lyrics left behind. Happily I can say that the album works great live just as well as it sounds on record. The emotion that is never lacking in James’s vocals seems heightened as if he knows the lyrics he is singing are that bit more important. From opening track Peeled Apples through to William’s Last Words sung by Nicky Wire (the lyrics too emotional for James to sing both on record and live) the word emotion just keeps coming to mind.
The Journal record means something huge to the band and that feeling is passed to the crowd tonight as the respect and warmth is there for all to see. That it works live anyway seems to detract from the main point. It is Richie’s last lyrics we are hearing. They reflect the state of his mind at the time, the feelings that were going through him. This is important and it shows in what is a huge performance from the band.
On entering the venue the A4 printed signs stated that the Journal album would be played in full first before a break was taken (the Manics don’t do encores, never have) and then there would be an hour of the band’s other songs. Sure enough Motorcycle Emptiness started off the second half and the emotion was snapped out of me as the hits were played in raucous style. Cramming an impressive fifteen other songs in the second half was no mean feat but then again this band are one of the hardest working I have ever known and nothing surprises me anymore. Classics from all across their back catalogue including Your Love Alone Is Not Enough, You Love Us, Sorrow 16 and Faster were belted out. A quite glorious, rousing Design For Life finished the night off in perfect style. Glorious.
A superb gig. A superb band. See them while you still can.
Ticket: June 4th 2009
Ticket Price: €44.20