The Manic Street Preachers kick off their UK headline tour in front of a crowd of die-hard fans at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle. 

Last year the Manic Street Preachers performed a huge open-air show at Newcastle’s Times Square, just a short stone’s throw away from this very room and following the success of that festival appearance the group makes a welcome return to Tyneside. 

Many of the Manic’s fans in attendance tonight line the front of the stage adorning their faux fur leopard print coats reflective of the group’s formative years. As has become customary the Welsh flag is proudly draped across Nicky Wire’s bass cabs at the back of the stage.

Earlier this month the legendary Welsh trio released their incredible 13th studio album Resistance Is Futile via Columbia/Sony records. The group’s latest offering has a distinctively classic Manic Street Preachers sound and was recorded at their all-new Door to the River studio, near Newport.

As the band hits the stage they open with “International Blue” – the first single to be released from their new record, which in turn sets the tone for the night ahead.

During the course of the Manic’s career-spanning set, they include approximately half of their latest long player including airings of “Distant Colours”, the stunning duet “Dylan and Caitlin” along with the spellbinding “Liverpool Revisited”. Of course, each of the aforementioned tracks have already been released as singles; a testament to how good Resistance Is Futile really is.

Each song in the set is accompanied by complimentary visuals and thought-provoking statements which appear on a large video wall at the rear of the stage.

Despite the emphasis on the group’s latest material, there is plenty of room for old favourites. Mid-set the band hurtle through back to back crowd pleasers in the shape of “Motorcycle Emptiness”, “Slash and Burn” along with “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next”. During the latter of which cannons located at the front of the stage propel ticker tape into the air covering the arena far and wide.

During a solo acoustic spot, James Dean Bradfield delivers a rare, stripped back airing of the classic “Faster” from the Manic Street Preachers’ 1994 Holy Bible album. This being a song which the band has largely committed to not playing for a long time, and as a result, the crowd sing back every word to the stage wholeheartedly. Likewise, the group delivers an emphatic performance of “You Love Us”; a track which has always been a firm favourite in the Manic Street Preachers’ vast songbook. 

Throughout the course of the night, the Manic’s set ebbs and flows, whilst bringing together the perfect blend of new and old as well as the occasional deep cut. One inclusion which falls under the latter category is the mellow, jazz-tinged “Horses Under Starlight”. This being a song which the band have never performed live previously and originally featured as a B-side to “Kevin Carter”.

As the band heads into the closing numbers of their marathon set they include a further track from their new album, that being “Hold Me Like Heaven”. With its catchy hooks and huge chorus, the song is one of the many stand out moments of the show. The beauty of the Manic Street Preachers’ new material is that it sits perfectly side by side to their earlier cuts, and in this case, the anthemic “Tsunami” that follows.

Tonight there is no encore or false endings but instead, the band plays straight through their 23 song set, which culminates in their unmistakable showstopper “Design For Life”. This timeless number being the perfect way to bring this celebration of the Manic Street Preacher’s extensive discography to a close.

With a career spanning in excess of 30 years, the Manic Street Preachers are still going strong and showing no signs of slowing down. The band’s current UK tour runs through until 5th May and is not to be missed.

Manic Street Preachers
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Event Date: 23-April-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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