|Have the Manic Street Preachers sold their souls by releasing a greatest hits album or is it unfair to hold them hostage to ideals expressed a decade ago? If the principles of the band have changed then this evening also shows that their fan-base has expanded and altered to such an extent that feather boa draped groupies weighed down by eyeliner are now the exception rather than rule. Whatever ethical dilemma was sparked by their compilation release, this greatest hits tour is a chance to hear the old favourites without them being interrupted by too much material from a new album. This is particularly welcome as each new Manic Street Preachers recording is greeted with more trepidation than anticipation. |
Any criticisms of the band are swept away the instant the stage is illuminated and the band open with the epic anthem to alienation 'Motorcycle Emptiness'. The Manics follow this with breathlessly vibrant versions of 'Australia' and 'You Stole the Sun from My Heart'. This last song, like the others taken from the 'This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours' LP, sound reinvigorated when isolated from the crushing adequacy of the album as a whole.
There is a positive aspect to banal songs, as latest single 'There by the Grace of God', ends the moshing in the crowd and prevents my lungs from exploding. Nobody else seems to share my relief at being offered the opportunity to inhale and the song title is greeted with a variety of groans. As recompense the booming bassline ushering in the start of 'Kevin Carter' receives a rapturous response after it replaces the lacklustre new tune.