Manic Street Preachers at the O2, London

Saturday saw Anna and I out alone together for the first time since Kitty was born, and what better way to spend the time than seeing the Manics playing every single they have ever released?

We got to the O2 at around half 4. It was my first time there, and Anna hadn't been since it was the Millennium Dome in 2000. The view as you come out of North Greenwich tube station is quite pretty.

The view of the O2 as we came out of North Greenwich station

We entered the complex and found some Manics fans that Anna has been talking to on Twitter, and spent the next few hours swapping Manics stories and drinking Brothers cider (which was on tap!) I also caught up with Adam and Brad, and Alex (very briefly!)

There was a long queue to get into the standing section, which is the last thing you need after a few pints! But thankfully it moved fairly quickly and we were in at around 7.15pm. We'd all received several emails from See Tickets and the Manics newsletter saying that we had to be there before 7.30 as that was when it would all start - needless to say they didn't come out until 7.50pm! We positioned ourselves on Nicky's side, as per usual, about 10-15 metres back so we had a great view. Simon Price was a few rows in front of us. It was all fairly spaced out during the first half, and we were definitely amongst proper fans (rather than casuals - are there any of those left? Probably not) who knew all the words.

Nicky's side, near the front

It's difficult to choose highlights, but from the first half mine would be Love's Sweet Exile (hadn't seen it live before), Motorcycle Emptiness (which James introduced by saying 'There's many songs that some of you might go to the bar for - but this one I think everybody stays for!'), Stay Beautiful (with crowd singalong during the chorus) and Faster. Some songs featured the video playing behind (sadly a little out of sync at times, especially during Faster when James came in early), others had various different arrangements. Gruff Rhys came on to do Let Robeson Sing (not entirely sure why) but even the bad songs were alright - and James and Nicky were very aware of how some songs were going to be received!

The Wire on the big screen

The 15 minute interval allowed just enough time to get to the toilet and back, before they launched into the second half of the set. Again, it's difficult to pick highlights, although the absolute best moment was Revol - being in a crowd all shouting 'lebensraum, kulturkampf, raus raus, fila fila' is surreal! Nina Persson came on to do Your Love Alone which was also great, and we also managed to find a random next to us who danced like a mentallist to both So Why So Sad and The Love of Richard Nixon!

James' turn on the screen

Unsurprisingly, Nicky managed to do his shoulder in (whilst jumping around during Revol), leading to him saying 'Should be doing fucking yoga or Pilates like Coldplay, shouldn't I?' Somehow though they managed to get through all 38 songs without any other incidents - I don't know how Sean drummed for so long, and James remembered all the words (apart from the one line in Faster he never sings properly!)

I can't really describe just how wonderful the whole gig was - it was the 18th time I've seen the Manics live and this is right up there with the best. The band were on top form, the crowd were on top form and everything just felt great. I can't wait for gig 19!

Keane Ingram

A father of three and husband of one. I enjoy spending time with my family, staying active (especially cycling, running and capoeira) and playing video games. I also enjoy reading and watching films.

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