Elbow – Carling Academy

Last night I stood in a crowd of people, rapt and in awe of a band that, frankly, can’t get much better (although I’m sure they’ll prove me wrong).

I’m not going to write a review per se as SwissToni has already done an excellent job, but I did just want to capture some thoughts about last night.

1. It’s the subtle things that make you realise this is a slick outfit, well seasoned. Guy Garvey comes on stage wearing a jacket. As the first song starts up he takes it off and lays it down. At the end of the evening, as the last song winds up he puts it back on. End of show.

2. As others have touched on, part of the charm of the band isn’t just the lush melodies, or heart wrenchingly beautiful lyrics, instead you are drawn into the gig by a frontman that feeds off of what he sees before him. He reacts to gestures and shouts, and whilst he will have a set of stock questions there is never the feel that he is reading from a script. He is as much there as we are, all joined in the same glorious moment.

3. And what moments. I realised last night what it is that has just a pronounced impact on me when seeing Elbow live, it’s that I’m rarely ever so THERE, so in the moment to the total exclusion of everything else around me. I’ve never experienced that at other gigs, always finding myself realising my feet are sore, or that I’m thirsty or ‘did I lock the car?’.

But not last night. Tears trickled down during the sadder songs, and during Mirrorball you could’ve stripped the place of the rest of the audience and I don’t think I would’ve noticed, so complete was my attention on that moment.

Amazing, brilliant, wonderful. So many words yet I find myself struggling to put my thoughts into words. So I’ll steal some from SwissToni:

very few bands can convey such a broad emotional palate so effectively. They deserve to be cherished.

Seriously, go read his review he captures most of my thoughts perfectly.

A few final notes.

Acknowledging the fact the band will be back for an encore, Guy Garvey challenged us to sing “We Are Sailing” and if we did they’d come back out. I’m not sure if there was anyone in the hall that WASN’T belting it out at the top of their voice and I’m certain the big grins on the faces of the band members were genuine (even if they were of the ‘what a bunch of fabulous nutters’ type).

And lastly, during Mirrorball, Guy broke into a small smile whilst pointing right at a couple that were embracing, lost in their own thoughts. I hope that little smile was at least a small payback for him for providing us with a wonderful, wonderful night.

2 comments

  1. thanks for link – it’s easy to write up a gig as good as that. Not as easy as an absolute panning, perhaps, but a lot easier on the ears.

    Does anyone who’s seen them not like Elbow, d’you think?

    Is there a better frontman anywhere at the moment?

    ST

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