Manic Street Preachers @ O2 Academy, Birmingham, UK – 23rd May 2019

Review and photography by Robert Barrett

It seems almost a cliche at this point for artists to play older albums in full, relying on nostalgia to bring in the audience for a quick cash grab. However that’s not always the case, some do it for the right reasons, making it a celebration for themselves and the fans. The best example of this at the moment is the Manic Street Preachers, who over the past few years have been playing a slew of excellent 20th anniversary shows of their 90’s albums.

Currently they are touring the 1999 album ‘This is My Truth, Tell me Yours’. The imposing O2 Academy stage lit up to David Holmes remix of ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’.  They didn’t waste a moment before launching into the albums opener ‘The Everlasting’. From the get go it felt like a celebration between the band and the crowd. “You’re gonna dance a lot, and you’re gonna think a lot sounds like my life” joked James, perfectly summarising the album to come.

Throughout the set both James and Nicky Wire became an interactive Wikipedia page, giving backstories and insights about the creation of the songs. A fight broke out in the crowd, interrupting the set. But once back on track it was an impressively slick set, ending with the triumphant original hit ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’.

Next was a short and sweet greatest hits set, with a few surprises thrown in. Just as you would expect from a Manic’s performance they played the classic crowd pleasers such as ‘You Love Us’. With some unexpected rarities such as ‘Sleepflower’. It was delivered with all the flare you would expect, Nicky’s kicks and James’ consistently strong vocals.

They ended the packed set with ‘A Design for Life’, a guaranteed singalong anthem if there ever was one. It capped off a night of pure celebration for the audience and the band. The Manics have never done cliche, and even with the inevitable ‘album tour’ they made sure to keep it honest and as entertaining as ever.


If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next (David Holmes remix)
This is My Truth Tell Me Yours
The Everlasting
You Stole the Sun From My Heart
Ready for Drowning
My Little Empire
I’m Not Working
Born a Girl
Be Natural
Black Dog on My Shoulder
Prologue to History
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

(Hits & Others)

Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
International Blue
Motorcycle Emptiness
Solitude Sometimes Is
From Despair to Where
La tristesse durera (Scream to a Sigh)
You Love Us
No Surface All Feeling
A Design for Life

(The original version of this article was first published on Gigjunkies

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