Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible (Live)
Wolverhampton Civic Hall
1st June 2015
Christopher Lloyd reports back from the Wolves leg of the Manics current “Holy Bible, Live” tour.
What is there left to be said about The Holy Bible? Nothing. If you know about it, you know. If you don’t, you need to.
It seems that at least half of the sold out audience at Wolverhampton Civic Hall didn’t know anything of the 1994 Manics Masterpiece. This gig, like the audience, was split into two sets – The Holy Bible in its entirety followed by a ‘hits’ set; the latter set being an adequate mini-hits set that the band have been doing well for quite some time.
However, for the first and inarguably most important set, there was a 50% rigidity score on the ‘confused and bemused’ audience index’. Vast swathes of balding middle-managers looking at each other in a befuddled manner, a look on their face not too dissimilar to the face of someone waiting for a slightly late train. They had clearly bought tickets to see The Manics: Everything Must Go+, but thankfully, though bored looking they still showed an absolute respect for the band and their masterpiece.
The other 50% of the audience scored a resounding 100% on the ‘Lockjaw of singing too loud’ index. The Holy Bible is an album that resonates, reminds, and just damn well means so very much to the people who clutched the Jenny Saville adorned sleeve to their chests twenty-one years ago. The band, stripped to just a trio “No Pat Smear’s in this band” (not until set 2), put their hearts right on their sleeve, sounding fresh, vital and more brutal than they have in many years. Standing just in front of me was journalist & noted MSP obsessive Simon Price, to the left of me Andy Cairns, whose band Therapy? took the Manics across Europe as support during the initial Holy Bible tour in 94; both joining the enraptured hardcore, joyously belting out every damn syllable to every one of the thirteen flawless songs.
Nostalgia is too false a word to describe the atmosphere… celebratory is more apt. Despite the lyrical content (the latter fan’s faces as James screams “sterilize rapists” during ‘Archives of Pain’ is priceless) The Holy Bible Live, 2015 is a wholly joyous affair, pulled off with style, honesty, integrity and love.
All words by Christopher Lloyd. More of Christopher’s work for Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.