At The Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, U.K., April 23, 2018

MANIC STREET PREACHERS (Live at The Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, U.K., April 23, 2018)
Photo: Mick Burgess

First night nerves were nowhere to be seen as a confident Manic Street Preachers pulled off a stunning performance on the opening night of their latest tour, no doubt buoyed by the chart success of their current album Resistance Is Futile.

Their latest release sees them looking back but also looking forward, drawing on those earlier Punk influences while bringing in the expansive, cinematic sound from their later albums. Set opener International Blue has all of the hallmarks of classic Manics and already sounds as familiar as some of their more established songs. Distant Colours too, with its huge, uplifting chorus shows that they haven’t lost that knack of writing Arena bothering anthems

The Manics have a shed load of hits at their disposal and it’s surprising not only how many they include but how many they can afford to leave behind. You Stole The Sun and Motorcycle Emptiness sounded magnificent with James Dean Bradfield’s voice soaring to the stars and their Number One hit, If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next added a touch of genuine class.

A short acoustic section featuring a rare stripped-down outing for the vintage gem, Faster and Kevin Carter showed Bradfield’s voice in its full finery.

Back in the early days their Punk Rock ethic and smash and grab shows were short, sharp and very, very punchy. As The Manics steer into middle age they may have smoothed a few rough edges down here and there but their spirit and rebellious edge was still evident on Slash and Burn and You Love Us which sparked the crowd into life as bassist Nicky Wire jumped and pirouetted across the stage.

Not only do they pull the hits out of the bag but they dug deep into their catalogue too with No Surface All Feeling, Let Robeson Sing and a striding, majestic Walk Me To The Bridge with its technicolour melody showing the strength they have hidden beneath the big numbers.

Throwing in the 1970s San Francisco elevator inspired B-Side Horses Under Starlight for a rare outing added to the eclectic mix of material and showed that the Manics are anything but predictable.

Wasting no time with a walk off stage/walk back on again encore, they made every second count closing with A Design For Life bringing the show to an uplifting end complete with glitter cannons.

Over a 23-song set nudging the two-hour mark there were hits, new songs, oldies, deep album cuts, rare B-sides and acoustic reworkings, simply something for everyone. What more could you ask for?

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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