Category Archives: Elbow Music

Daydreaming in the Passenger Seat

Elbow’s Best Of: Reviewed



When a band releases a Best Of it’s easy to be cool and write it off as a cash grab, the band in question might have split up, might be going on an indefinite hiatus, might be at the end of their contract, there’s lots of reasons for them in fairness. For a long time I didn’t get Elbow’s Best Of, that’s not be being cool by the way, it just passed me by. I’ve spent the best part of a month with it and I really really didn’t want to like it but I’m here to tell you the boys have done well with it. I wanted to be all yeah well buy the albums, scoff scoff scoff, they’ve missed off such and such well this isn’t for the Day One crowd is it scoff scoff… but it is. This isn’t the end of their story, but this collection works as the end of a phase – I don’t even want to say Phase One because at over twenty five years thats some first chapter. Whatever you call it, from Asleep to Little Fictions it’s been a journey; they were some way down the road before the world seemed to wake up to them after all, and the journey is told in this collection.

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Elbow Tour 2014 – London Set List

Wednesday 16th April 2014, The O2 Arena, London

This Blue World instrumental


The Bones of You

Fly Boy Blue / Lunette – trampoline. End of.

Real Life (Angel) When someone is hurting and you cannot do anything to help, all you can do is suggest they drink rather a lot.
The Night Will Always Win –  Same vibe as above, although I didn’t cry this time. Guy spoke of the how to cope when someone has died, the importance of missing them in a room with people who also miss them, often with a glass of the person’s favourite tipple. 
New York Morning
The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver
Great Expectations
The Blanket of Night – About how people fleeing their homelands and coming to this country are vilified as if they are pirates coming aboard your ship and stealing your gold.
The Birds
Grounds for Divorce – obviously this one gets everyone off their arses and dancing.
Elsewhere Guys usual invitations to clap and wave along don’t seem to be as instantly accepted as other venues. But we do get a brilliant moment where he asks everyone to sing out names of lizards, I’m doing it no justice but seriously when you hear thousands of people sing back the word “Chameleon”, you have heard it all. It actually sounded a lot like a collective  Brian Blessed (Gordon’s Aliiiiive) impression.***


My Sad Captains

Beautiful things happen when Guy thinks about friends and alcolhol. Wonderful songs about lost opportunities, missed trains and absent friends can result. Long may Guy Garvey continue to ponder and look and muse, and long may this band continue to give his words the music to float on.


Lippy Kids

One Day Like This

All these songs mean something different, I can tell you that exactly but I don’t think that is what it’s about, it’s about what they mean to everyone who hears them on a personal level. It doesn’t really matter what song was written about a girl on a bus who didn’t even realise, it resonates with people because we’ve all tried to act like we haven’t dreamed of what if. We’ve all  been suddenly hit with romance like the horn crashes in Starlings and we have all felt what happens when that love goes away.

As this is the last night of the tour this will probably be the last word I say on the album too. It got to number one you know. Isn’t that good? Tour wise, they went with the last three albums and not so much with the first three but the songs they chose fit the theme of the tour (and the Take Off and Landing… album as it happens; friendship, love, past, future, hope and loss and regret. Never too much of one, never too little of the other, balance;

The take off is just as important as the landing, after all.

There will be more from Eden in the summer but for now, I’m knackered. Hello Prestwich, hello bed.

*** If you know who that is, good. If you don’t, that’s fine but you should probably watch more telly.

Elbow Tour 2014 – London Part 2

The O2: Wednesday 16th April 2014

Hard as it may be to admit this, the O2 is better than the Nynex, the MEN, the whatever the Manchester Arena is called now. It just is, the view is better even though you are further back, apparently the seats are nicer too but I brought my own so I can’t really say. Set list wise there it was much the same though with this being the last night everyone was determined to go out with a bang (and balloons again, obviously).

Guy got the crowd to do the Mexican and reverse Mexican wave again, it looked amazing as it did in Manchester. It seemed a little bit harder to get interaction from the crowd here though, in terms of clapping or singing back to Guy it’s possible they weren’t as forthcoming as elsewhere in the tour. Grounds for Divorce still got them dancing though, One Day Like This brought the curtain down and the aforementioned balloons,

Musically the boys are as tight on stage as they are on record, and the vocals are perfect. Live too, vocals that were probably layered by just Guy in the studio, are sung by a combination of Mark, Craig, Richard and Pete on stage so you get a real sense of performance.

Rather than give me a sense of repetition, this tour has given me more appetite to see them live at the festivals this summer.

That’s the landing sorted. See you in a few months. Now, how do we cross that bridge? Taxi?

Elbow Tour 2014 – London Part 1

This Blue World: Wednesday 16th April

Whoever decided to try and get me somewhere to travel before noon, is either brave or stupid. The person in question is very important to me and has been responsible for quite a huge amount of the happiness my life has seen, so it’s not stupid…. must be brave. And we are going to that London, where folk stare at me more than usual and not for the same reasons as at home either, in London I found that folk’ll stare at you for saying hello and appearing happy.

A few hours into London and the happy bouncyness drains from me. It’s warmer down south, so I’m going around in my Elbow t-shirt (free advertising, as I was later told by Jupp). No wonder everyone looks miserable here though, everyone’s in a rush to get somewhere and no one has a clue how to get their. Also, I’ve never seen so many people on one side of the road waiting to cross, it’s like some epic Abbey Road remake where the four Beatles have been replaced by thirty tourists with cameras, add a few proffesional types with phones stuck to their ear.

Wonder if the Queen is in. Bet she knows the way to the Ibis. For the record their are loads of Ibis hotels here and we must have found all of them before finding the one we needed.

Apologies if you were on the overground, or the underground (I cant remember which) and you saw a crabby bitch of a Bury lad and a blonde with a map. We had our own conversation and I stopped at one point to find a bemused German couple staring at me with a half smile. Of all the people we met today, those two probably had the clearest perception of what was going on.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to shift around London? It’s pretty simple as it goes, until you ask people, then it gets harder. It turns out that being ‘from there’ gives you no geographical advantage whatsoever. We did well, we only got lost twice, but we asked the transport people who are supposed to know these things and one fella was more interested in my map than he was in telling us how to get places. My map was apparently better than the ones he gives out because it was a wheelchair access of the tube. Dude, love that you haven’t seen the map before, I mean, you work for the company so what’s that about but… I’m very tired I’ve been wheeling around this place for hours and if we don’t get to the hotel soon I’m going to miss Jimi.

The boys got down here earlier in the week so they could do Jools Holland. Jools had some weird pronunciation of the bands name though, he kind of stressed the second part and it sounded like some new wave weird Spanish one man band; el bow.

They performed My Sad Captains and New York Morning and Guy wore his glasses. They recorded Real Life (Angel) and Charge and I think they are going to be on later in the week or month. At this point I have no idea, I’ve gone over too many cobbles and my mind is mushed.

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.