Category Archives: Live Music

Strings of Life – Elton John in Melbourne.

This concert, on 14th December 1986, before eleven thousand people in the Sydney Entertainment Centre, was the last in a series of twenty seven performances covering all of Australia… You are joining the concert after the interval, just as the eighty eight-piece Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is heard and seen for the first time on this, the last night of the tour…

There are absolutely no overdubs on this album.

Taken from the liner notes of the album, released in 1987.

Those words give this performance quite a build-up, don’t they? Twenty seven performances covering all of Australia, an eight eight-piece orchestra behind him, the last night of the tour. It was reportedly the first time anything like this had been attempted by a pop or rock artist and it took months and months of rehearsal, Elton himself paid a heavy price for this performance. During the tour, which began in in Brisbane on November 5th, specialists discovered nodules on his vocal cords, and he would go for surgery on them within a month of leaving this stage. Elton has since said that there was a very real fear that the last song he sang that night in December ’86, would be his last ever; Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me was then, a rather fitting choice.

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Wheelchairs In Mosh Pits and Hands Like Houses

Hands Like Houses: Dissonants Tour

Manchester Academy 3, Wednesday 25th May 2016. 

The first thing I ever hear from this band is the opening to I Am – It opens the set in Manchester and the recent album Dissonants. It has melody and enough frantic guitar and drum stuff for people to go bananas too. The live crowd were bouncing in unison to a song that is seemingly about not putting a band or a singer on a pedestal. The singer sings about  singers (and therefore maybe himself) having the power of influence over people through lyrics and how a lot of the time they are empty, hollow and won’t make any difference. By the end of the song the singer has convinced me “I am not the same, I won’t feed on fame…I will make a change it’s by my words and not my name.”

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Back to the Block – NKOTB Manchester 2014

This week right here in Manchester I had a return date with five boys from Boston. Longer ago than I care to remember I was in Manchester with thousands upon thousands of screaming girls; New Kids were my first crush band although I didn’t know that at the time. I remember being confused that others were confused; I couldn’t like New Kids? It was a girl thing was it? Well I got all merch’d up and believe me, they deserved every single one of my screams and every single one of my (Dad’s) pounds on souvenirs.

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Elbow Tour 2014 – London Set List

Wednesday 16th April 2014, The O2 Arena, London

This Blue World instrumental

Charge

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.
Mirrorball
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.

Starlings

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?