ELBOW LIVE IN MANCHESTER – WHAT HAPPENED?

Manchester’s newest venue and the cause of much controversy in recent weeks finally opened it’s doors last night for the mighty Elbow. Perhaps fitting that the first official show was a homegrown band from Bury to grace the ginormous stage of an arena which is now officially the largest capacity venue in Europe – 23,500.

Although the venue was not full last night (it certainly felt full), with people queuing from midday to secure a prime spot at the barrier. Despite naysayers seemingly wanting this place to fall on it’s arse, the evening went without a hitch (sort of).

On arrival the venue were not aware that press would be attending (not quite sure why seeing as the launch of this venue has not been out of the press since it’s originally intended open day last month). An hour wait and we finally had our passes, and during this time had been toured around the perimeter of the site (it is fucking huge…my initial words).

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

All nerves, anxiety and trepidations about the evening disappeared as soon as Mr Garvey stepped onstage with a no doubt loud collective sigh of relief from the events team as the CO-OP live took it’s place in the record books, and as far as I am aware with all air con units securely in place (but witty Northern humor prevailed as some audience members sported hard hats.).

Now to the real reason we are all gathered here, beyond the dramas of the previous week the music. Was it worth the wait, yes it was. The sound was incredible (which it bloody well should be for 365mil), Garvey’s voice was outstanding. The band filled every part of the vast space with their beautiful music.

The band played a set list opening with ‘Things I’ve been telling myself for years’, The vast stage accommodated the eleven musicians and all the mod-cons and tasteful gimmicks (is that is a thing) were on hand in the form of a giant mirror ball descending from the ceiling. The set included new material and of course came to a conclusion with fan favourite which was the perfect end to the evening ‘One Day Like This’.

The venue is not perfect by any means, and I am sure that Guy Garvey would agree that £8 a pint is ridiculously steep. With prices like those there is a risk of alienating a huge percentage of music fans. Perhaps a system like Aviva Studios would be beneficial, implementing an affordable ticketing scheme?

Make your own minds up but the venue has potential to do a lot of good for valuable organisations such as the Music Venue Trust and considering the venue has been built in a city known for it’s rising talent it would be stupid not to.

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By mykct