By Clare McCabe
Artist: Manic Street Preachers
Date / Venue: July 2nd, Vector Arena, Auckland
Arrived a little early at Vector last night, in time to see the ½ hour support set by Ghost Wave - who received a definite thumbs up from the group standing around me up the front. But let's face it - the crowd were really only here to see our Welsh friends - it must be tough to support such a fan favorite.
By 9.00pm the arena was full of very happy (and slightly older) fans eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mr Bradfield and co.
And arrive they did, ripping straight into my favourite Motorcycle Emptiness with enthusiasm - hard to believe that song was released over 20 years ago. These guys obviously still, after all these years, love playing together as a band. The statuesque Mr Nicky Wire stands on stage to the right with his shades/Adam-Ant make-up and fabulous jacket, playing his bass as low as it can go. To the left is Mr James Dean Bradfield, playing his guitar feverishly and singing his little heart out. Thank you kindly he said after the applause died down for one song - no no Mr Bradfield thank YOU for playing for us. The rest of the band is made of up of the excellent Mr Sean Moore on drums, a second guitarist and keyboardist in the background and even a spot of banjo-playing on the twisted song that is Tsunami.
The boys played a great range of tunes, highlights included the cover Suicide is Painless, the great sing-a-longA Design for Life, Everything Must Go and more. In between songs there was a little banter from both James and Nicky - particularly liked when Nicky dedicated the fabulous, punky Revol to their old friend and bandmate Richey Edwards (RIP) and mentioned that he would have loved New Zealand. Sadly missed hearing Stay Beautiful though, a particularly good tune, maybe next time?
There followed a little acoustic mini-set from James while the other boys had a little break and then straight into a raging version of You Love Us which certainly got the crowd going/singing along. A very happy crowd by this stage - and must mention the sound was particularly good last night, thanks Vector.
And then the grand finale of the huge If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next - exactly what the crowd wanted and they certainly responded accordingly.
Thanks for sharing the love with us boys. We will be in attendance when you return - and I know you will return (posted on Twitter this morning "Next Lions tour New Zealand - 4 years' time - sounds like a plan to me"). See you then.