Manic Street Preachers

Seaneen 11/12/2004

The Nottingham Ice Arena is enormous, the sound is fantastic. If you picked the "Live" setting when listening to a CD on your DVD player this is the sound it would try to emulate. In fact, its the sound most venues try to emulate but fail miserably due to the fact their roofs are covered with Tesco tinfoil. My ticket was a Christmas present from the fabulous [info]indie10kid, who went with me to his first ever Manics gig in 2002 when he was nothing but a quivering feather boa. Sadly I lost Patrick at the beginning of the night due to some farcical confusion about everyone's whereabouts, apparently throughout he was frustratingly close but I didn't see him due to being 4ft 9" tall an' all.

The Manics started quite subdued, but in the first crush I almost lost a shoe and was clutched by Simon who saved me from being killed- TO DEATH. There were a few F#cking D#ckheads in front of me who I wanted to kill. Empty Souls opened, I felt decidedly underwhelmed, and did a little until-

"Someone has thrown water over the mixing desk". Sizzle, sizzle, SCCRRREEECCCH! The sound f#cks up, utterly. I feel a laugh rising up and wonder how the water-thrower (who we later discovered was called Jenny, address to follow) likes disemboweling. Nicky is running around (he is so fat these days and looked like a slightly questionable doctor for the most part) and James is smoking (his old comedy act, flouting the non-smoking regulations of venues) and swearing (he does this anyway). They go off, the audience is stunned but very calm and good-natured. I absolutely love it when things f#ck up like this as I've said before so I was a happy bunny (or chicken, since I'm a Manicsfan).

Proceedings broke down in the middle of Australia (thank f#ck, hate that song anyway) but when they blazed back on, promising us 20 extra minutes, they slammed right back into the exact point they left off. That is professional. They completely perked up then, Nicky was at his scissor kicking best- in fact, they were at their best, it turned out to be one of the best Manics gigs I've ever seen. Cardiff Afterlife was heartbreaking, Archives of Pain- a short acoustic burst- was prick-teasing, Faster blistering, Yes breathtaking, You Love Us loving (ah, its the song I'll take to my grave, the youth song, being 12 and really loving the Manics for the first time), Small Black Flowers time-stopping (a moment, everyone's heartbeats in synch, quite beautiful), Die In the Summertime, eh, disturbing. I don't have a setlist but I'll get hold of it for you and post photos later. It was great. There was a feeling of fan-love even though the place was largely crammed with, "OASSSSSIISSS! DURRRRR!" types and they really were amazing. At the end Nicky donned a leopardprint headscarf, leopard print tights and a Badminton skirt and shook hands with 1993. A few times a lump came to my throat and a swelling to my skirt. (Oof! Shuddap). They are, more than ever, acknowledging their history, embracing it. I think this is it, though, as they said, a greatest hits, another album, it's over. I think this is the end, I'd be sad and happy if it was. I love the Manics. I'm a F#cking Manicsfan. So there.