Manchester v Cancer
So there I was queuing up at 5.30pm expecting the doors to open like the dozens of other people freezing their rollocks off, but no, that would be too easy, instead the doors opened at 6.05pm and that was only to allow us into the refreshment area. Refreshments that through forward planning I had already purchased beforehand to save going back and too once I was in the gig, but yet again that would be too straightforward, instead they were confiscated upon entering, two bottles of water ceremoniously ditched into a clear plastic bag along with other dangerous substances like coke and fanta.
Wait a minute is this supposed to a Manchester v CANCER event, should they not have instead been confiscating the hundreds of cancer causing cigarettes on entering. The very cigarettes that I had to breathe in from people around me during the whole 5 hours of the concert. Hypocritical in the extreme.
So the doors did finally open to allow us into the arena at 6.45pm. Bez starting off with his Domino Bones, with Shaun Ryder mocking the crowd at the side, followed by Utah Saints. It was then 808s turn to impress.
The gig was being filmed by every camera under the sun, a really professional approach, from swing cameras on beams jetting across the audience heads to two cameras in front of the stage crisscrossing on rails. An obvious future DVD release.
So there was no room for errors, no double takes, it required a highly polished performance to have any chance of being added onto the disc, and that’s what we got.
In fact too highly polished, gone was the drummer, Paddy being the only extra addition. The opener Pacific having Graham on his clarinet sounding that good he must play bagpipes in his spare time. In fact that good he almost had us believing he was miming.
Darren then introduced Nicky on stage for The Only Rhyme that Bites with the backwall display showing his every move while final track Cubik had everyone doing the mental rounds.
The arena was still only half full at this time, and even towards the end a lot of upper tiers had clearly not sold.
The graphics behind 808 were the only mishap in their performance as it showed the Pacific video when they were playing Cubik, no doubt the aztec statue montage should have accompanied Cubik instead of Pacific.
And that was that, no fancy light displays, no lasers, just a well polished warm up routine for the other acts to follow, and indeed they did follow with Nine Black Alps finally making use of the pyrotechnics available with the first of the extended performances.
Johnny Marr was my personal fave, and New Order took us back in time with an entire Joy Division set. It was then that most of the artists came on stage dragging along Shaun Ryder in boyz of the hood mode to sing us out with a Mondays routine.
808 are clearly not a 3 track band. Give them the time, the pyrotechnics and a defined crowd they are unrivalled. Tonight wasn’t about upstaging other acts, they all gave their time and support for a common cause and that was the highlight of the night.