Manic Street Preachers start Rewind the Film tour with a bang in Newport
ONLY in a Newport gig would you find the Manic Street Preachers playfully bickering about getting a song wrong, reminiscing about long-forgotten local pubs and dedicating their greatest hit to the crowd with utter sincerity.
When James Dean Bradfield described bassist Nicky Wire as 15 feet tall, you felt he had risen to that height among his own, spurred on to ask with a beaming grin “do you want me to sing badly for you?”
He knew the answer was only ever going to be an emphatic yes as he sang Platitudes, before accompanying James on new song As Holy as the Soil.
To some visitors, Newport Leisure Centre is a small, dated venue. But, with many of their families and friends in the crowd as well as people who have followed them from through the eras, it seems to provide confirmation to the Manics of who they are and where they have come from.
As James said: “Always a great pleasure, never a chore to play Newport Centre. One of the great 80s old school venues.”
It brought the memories flooding back, with Nicky reminiscing about getting drunk with Richie in TJ’s and a gig in an old back alley pub called Brahms and Liszt 26 years ago. “It was one gig where we didn’t annoy people. It was rare back then,” he joked.
The roars proved how times have changed as they rampaged through All Surface no Feeling, Motorcycle Emptiness and Tsunami before moving on to Show me the Wonder and Anthem for a Lost Cause from their new album.
Nicky gained more cheers as he paid testament to another Gwent hero: “We’ve had a great summer following Wales..I mean the British and Irish Lions around Australia. Toby Faletau or Jamie Heaslip? Surely a no brainer.”
They reeled off a number of other classics before singer-songwriter Richard Hawley joined them on stage for Rewind the Film, the title track from their new album.
In a blistering 19-song set, there was a brilliant crowd-assisted acoustic version of the Everlasting, Ocean Spray and even the Welsh National Anthem that led into Motown Junk.
Befitting of the intimate, relaxed atmosphere, Nicky and James then had a playful bicker about messing Revol up at a recent gig- a song they dedicated to “one of Wales’ greatest minds”, Richey Edwards.
James Dean Bradfield finished by telling the crowd “this one’s for you” as they blasted out a Design for Life.
Most bands bypass Newport Centre these days. But, you sense this city and venue hold a special place in the Manics’ hearts and they reserve some of their best performances for their home crowd.
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