So, that was Manchester eh? I’m just processing some of the photos I took and thinking back over the past couple of days. What sort of impression did Manchester make on me?
Let’s start with the good stuff. The main reason I was there to see Elbow in their last gig for a wee while. Apparently since releasing The Seldom Seen Kid, they’ve played 144 shows so I guess they are due a wee bit of time off.
The gig was ace, the M.E.N. Arena was a pretty good venue (unlike the Glasgow equivalent which I despise, the S.E.C.C.) and the band were on top form. As ever Guy Garvey had a good line in banter, and they played a couple of tracks that I’ve not heard them play live, with Bitten by the Tailfly being a bemusing but welcomed choice. They are such a good live band and the songs play a large part in that, as they have a good mix of uptempo tracks to get people out of their seats, quieter numbers that are delivered with passion, and what might just be the best closing number of any band (On A Day Like This). I was also pretty impressed that the crowd managed to sing All You Need Is Love by The Beatles whilst waiting for an encore (all part of the Elbow gigging ritual).
The people of Manchester are a friendly bunch, possibly because I was a “tourist” in their city, particularly those working in the shops and cafes and bars. I wasn’t sure what the ‘tone’ of the city would be like but it’s quite a friendly feeling place.
That said the city of Manchester could well be any big European city. It’s probably because I didn’t have the time to head anywhere else out of the confines of the centre of the city but by and large it was the usual mix of ancient buildings sitting alongside large slab sided office blocks.
I had hoped to jump on one of those tour buses but they finished their season last week (a bit premature, surely?) and I’m guessing I missed a lot. But then, even now I’m struggling to think of what else I’d have wanted to see.
Ohh yes, and the Arndale shopping centre is huge.
So, that was Manchester. An OK city.
And, alas, it’s the last we’ll hear from Elbow for a while as I’d imagine they will be off for a holiday and to start on the next album.