Elbow Tour 2014 – Manchester

Depends on if you”re home…

So the home town gig came and went, it’s always an event. Last time around the band had friends and family sat in the seats on either side of the stage and dressed in white t-shirts, the “elbow choir” was pretty epic. I wondered how the set list would change from the warm up a few days before in Newcastle, and how the interchange would be different, You can’t plan spontaneity, after all.

This Blue World as intro

Charge. Everyone can do pissed off at the world songs, everyone can do happy at the world songs, it takes a Northerner, specifically this collection of Northerners, to do the “oh bloody hell more young’uns all over the place, I remember when” songs. Lippy Kids and this are brilliant and full of observations. Think of the moany old git who’s been coming to their pub for years and they turn up one day and its full of chavs, you get the picture. When Guy writes about the generation gap, beautiful things can happen.

The Bones of You

Fly Boy Blue / Lunette

Real Life (Angel)

The Night Will Always Win. Had me in tears, TEARS I tell you. Once again it was mentioned that the song was about the best course of action when dealing with grief. Best to be in a room with people who also miss the person, best not to be on your own.

New York Morning.  Guy pointed out that Elbow have ‘written plenty of songs about Manchester” before going onto sing this, which isn’t one of them.

The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver

Great Expectations From the B Stage. They moved New York up in the set from Newcastle, and dropped Open Arms completely but this addition saw its genesis on the 135 bus from Bury to Manchester so it’s appropriate. It;s a song about a love affair involving two people where only one of them is aware that its happening. Love from afar.

The Blanket Of Night  From the B stage. A song about a refugee couple, Guy got a bit political here. Before this song he spoke about how immigration had become a topic to fight an election on and politicians seemed to have forgotten the human cost of someone fleaing their troubled homeland and trying to find safety somewhere else. 


The Birds. Blistering.

Grounds for Divorce. Blistering. 

My Sad Captains. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Friendship. 


Lippy Kids had the whistles sent out by Guy and returned by the crowd, I was dissapointed no-one up in the seats seemed to be singing the chorus back but apparently on the floor they did so ignore me.

One Day Like This Ahh yes that song. They might not be allowed to ever drop this, it seems bigger than that and its the reason they have gained a bigger audience. My own feelings aside it still is a great way to end the concert. 

I read something this week about One Day Like This, in the Guardian, it hits my point on the head beautifully; “The song undoubtedly casts a long shadow over Elbow’s career. Forty quid a ticket seems a lot of money to hear one song, particularly one you hear about three times a week, whether you want to or not.”

Concluding that Elbow are a band who “realised a mass audience loves them not for the big hit, but for what they really are”. 

(Alex Petridis, March 6th, The Guardian)

Well here it is, Manchester on wednesday night was full of people who remember Cuba. ‘People go to great lengths not to offend America’ said Guy once, when asked about the choice to go to Cuba, knowing it might affect United States tours in the future. They had the balls to do it. They wrote a song, and an album that connected with a great many people, One Day is a piece of music that will live on for as long as people need uplifting music for their montage, But Elbow know that not everyone is their just for that one song, and even those that are, my word do they stay when they hear the rest!

Manchester shows will benefit from a lot of the crowd relating to the places or the people that inspired the tunes, in a few cases the people were actually in the room and that’s whats really nice about these shows; in some cases.

One very sad element of the night surrounded someone who was not there, not in person anyway; Steve Lloyd sadly died recently, he was an important figure in the Manchester music scene. Steve produced Elbow’s first EP and co owned The Roadhouse. Guy told a story about how they once played a song to him during the recording of their EP;

 “The first time Craig and I played our songs for him he nodded off and it was the silence at the end of the song that woke him up. We carried on and he nodded off again. Steve nodded off four times before someone thought to get him a coffee.”

To absent friends, to present friends, to anyone who has ever been touched by this band and their music, last night meant a lot.

It’s fair to say, the boys built their rocket and they are in full control of the takeoff and landing of everything. See you in that London.



About The Editor

I write words about things I care about and hopefully you'll care about them too when I'm done. View all posts by The Editor

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