In these uncertain times things change rapidly but there's a satisfying continuance here tonight in the double Welsh flags on the bass amps, the huge tunes and sky scrapping riffs of opening numbers tonight. Recent single 'International Blue' which in its live version sounds like it will exist long in the set list beyond new album 'Resistance is Futile' promotional tour (or perhaps thanks to digital consumption do new albums exist to promote tours?), and ' You Stole The Sun From My Heart'.
' Your Love Alone Is Not Enough' continues the epic tunes, with long time live collaborator Wayne Murray substituting for Nina Persson's in the call and response vocals with lead singer James Dean Bradfield.
During recent single 'Distant Colours' the three giant screens show the video we're amongst the Welsh slate mines exploring monuments to Aneurin Bevan. “Another track from the new album ... our fifth number two album thanks to The Greatest Showman soundtrack. Has anybody here bought that ... Get the f*** out.” James says jokingly, blaming the good-natured outburst on his short man/ Napoleon complex. Back to the new album and Welsh theme for 'Dylan & Caitlin' about the alcohol soaked, tempestuous relationship between Dylan and Caitlin Thomas “The alcohol starts to sink in/ The drinking blends us to sin...Together The Tenderness Cries”.
“ If he's got short man complex, f**k knows what I've got.... I've always loved musicals ..” says bass player Nicky Wire sarcastically, “ ...the f**king water torture of entertainment.” “Enjoy the awesome cheekbones, intelligence and lyrics of Richey Edwards, he's here with us tonight ...playing Motorcycle Emptiness” as an introduction to the quintessential Manics single from 1992.
Both of their UK No.1 singles are played tonight, 'The Masses Against The Classes' and 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will be Next' with blue and silver streamers filling the standing area in front of the stage during the chorus.
The band leave the stage to make way for the now traditional James Dean Bradfield acoustic solo spot, tonight features 'Faster' which he requests a call and response from the audience “I am an architect, they call me a butcher / I am a pioneer, they call me primitive /I am purity, they call me perverted”, the power of the lyrics undiminished by the absence of the instrumentation, followed by 'From Despair to Where ' from 'Gold Against the Soul' into which James insets a couple of lines from Bonnie Tyler's 'Total Eclipse of the Heart'.
The band break gives Nicky a chance to change into an all white jacket and skinny fit trouser suit with a matching panama hat,“ I know what you're thinking” (no comment) “ How can a 49 year old have legs this good ?” says the bass player “Ribena and Kitkats” apparently being his secret.
James gives keyboard player Nick Nasmyth a shout-out for his “Best Booker T style chords” in 'Let Robeson Sing'. Opening track on the new album 'People Give In' written about the indomitable human spirit rising against the odds feels grander and more 'We Will Rock You' style anthemic played live than on the record. The anthemic mood continues through 'Slash and Burn' and final track (what else could it be?) 'A Design For Life' with glitter cannons and pogoing band members.
The fake fur, feather boas and guy liner may have reduced over the years, but a band who still cares (see 'Liverpool Revisited' from the new album) and puts so much energy into a back catalogue of tunes which still feels powerful and relevant, who can possibly complain; Resistance is Futile.