ELBOW LIVE IN MANCHESTER – WHAT HAPPENED?

Manchester’s newest venue and the cause of much controversy in recent weeks finally opened its doors to the mighty Elbow last night. Perhaps fitting that the first official show featured a homegrown band from Bury gracing the massive stage of an arena that is now officially the largest venue in Europe: 23,500.

Although the venue wasn’t full last night (it certainly felt full), there were people queuing from noon onwards to get a prime spot at the barrier. Despite naysayers seemingly wanting this place to fall on its ass, the evening went off without a hitch (sort of).

On arrival the venue was not aware that there would be any press present (not entirely sure why as this venue’s launch has not been out of the press as the open day was originally intended to take place last month) . An hour of waiting and we finally had our passes, and during this time we had been shown around the edge of the site (it’s bloody huge…my first words).

Although the staff was incredibly accommodating, there was a nervous energy about the place as the staff guided the ever-increasing number of fans into numerous entrances into the foreboding depths of the building.

All nerves, anxiety and apprehension about the evening disappeared as soon as Mr Garvey took the stage with an undoubtedly loud collective sigh of relief from the events team as the CO-OP took its place in the record books live, and as far as I know consciously with all air-conditioning units safely in place (but funny northern humor prevailed as some spectators wore hard hats).

Now to the real reason we’re all here together, aside from last week’s dramas, the music. Was it worth the wait, yes it was. The sound was incredible (which it damn well should be for 365 million), Garvey’s voice was excellent. The band filled every part of the enormous space with their beautiful music.

The band played a setlist opening with ‘Things I’ve been talking myself for years’. The huge stage accommodated the eleven musicians and all the modern gadgets and tasteful gimmicks (is that a thing) were present in the form of a giant mirror ball descending from the ceiling. The set included new material and of course ended with fan favorite which was the perfect ending to the evening ‘One Day Like This’.

The location is not perfect by any means, and I’m sure Guy Garvey will agree that £8 a pint is ridiculously high. Such awards run the risk of alienating a large percentage of music fans. Perhaps a system like Aviva Studios would be useful, implementing an affordable ticketing system?

Decide for yourself, but the location has the potential to do a lot of good for valuable organizations like the Music Venue Trust and considering the venue is built in a city known for its emerging talent, it would be foolish not to.

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