Elbow Are Wrapping Up Their Tour With 3 Nights In Manchester
There really is no gig quite like a Manchester band returning to Manchester, especially after a global pandemic
Elbow have been out on tour in support of their album, ‘Giants Of All Sizes’ which was released last year, and the tour was postponed as a result of the pandemic, but now the tour is in it’s final days, and Elbow are wrapping it up with three nights in Manchester. We went along to the first night, and as soon as we walked in and saw it at nearly full capacity before the support had come on, so we knew we were in for an incredible atmosphere, with the adoring fans making the effort to get down early.
Opening the night was Jesca Hoop with her incredible, and somewhat unique, folk set. Originally hailing from the USA, but moving to the UK a few years ago, Jesca Hoop has clearly been making a name for herself, as you could hear a pin drop in the audience, as she controlled the crowd with her soft folk ballads. For her first track, she was accompanied only by one other musician on a drum machine, but was soon joined by backing singers and a bassist to fill out the sound and draw the crowd in, who were hanging on her every word. With the extra members, there was a sound reminiscent of ‘Barabajagal’ era Donovan.
After her short yet captivating set, on came the next support, Peter Jobson, who played a handful of tracks from his new, and debut, EP before the stage fell into darkness, and the moment everyone had been waiting for had finally arrived. A quick look back as I walked into the photo pit, and the Apollo was bursting at the seems with eager and adoring Elbow fans. Walking on to an array of bright flashes, Guy Garvery and co bowed and waved to the crowd before powering into the first track of their set, ‘Dexter & Sinister’ for which the band were accompanied by Jesca Hoop on backing vocals. It’s safe to say that Elbow have one of the most loving fan bases around, and their success over the last 31 years is something that many upcoming bands could only hope for, but it’s safe to say that if an upcoming band manage to gain a fanbase even half as adoring as Elbow have, then they are definitely doing something right.
As I’ve said, this tour was supposed to take place last year, to promote their last album ‘Giants Of All Sizes’, and ate multiple points throughout the night, Garvey joked about the postponement. Again though, as I have noticed with other concerts since the return of live music, the delay has given fans time to learn the album off by heart, and it allowed the band to play tracks from the album, knowing that fans would belt out the lyrics as they did all night. However, ‘Giants Of All Sizes’ is now no longer the band’s latest album, and Guy Garvey announced last night that the band had spent lockdown writing and recording material for a new album, and having broke the news, it was only fair that they treated the crowd to a track from the album, so they played ‘What Am I Without You’, which is the last song on the upcoming album, and is dedicated to Garvey’s wife.
All night, Elbow put on a stunning audio performance, which is to be expected from such a great band, but it was the visuals which took me by surprise. Lasers and strobes danced across the venue all night, and the light show would really not have looked out of place in an arena or stadium. A fantastic light show is what you want at a gig, there’s something about stunning visuals which just draw you into the music even more, and the night is always more special when you are so drawn in you just lose track of time and where you are. For the track, ‘The Loneliness Of A Tower Crane Driver’, they welcomed Peter Jobson back on to the stage, which was only fair as they had Jessica Hoop back on for the first track.
Proceedings were taken up a notch as the band powered into ‘White Noise White Heat’, another track from their last album, which they had also released as a single so the crowd knew the track as if it was one of their old ones, and the arms were swaying and clapping throughout the track, as everyone sung their hearts out to the chorus. Elbow keep the energy levels high as they followed the track with ‘Magnificent (She Says)’ which is a track that everybody knows, whether you are a fan of Elbow or not. To watch a packed out Apollo belting out a track like this was special to see, and was pretty moving, especially as this was my first time back in the venue since I saw Lewis Capaldi there just a few weeks before the UK fell into lockdown number one.
Elbow continued to deliver anthem after anthem for the remainder of the night, and walked off stage after a truly brilliant ‘Grounds For Divorce’ which was met with incredible cheers from the crowd, and for the encore, fans were treated to ‘Lippy Kids’ before the night was brought to a close with Elbow’s signature piece, ‘One Day Like This’.