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Manic Street Preachers at Liberty Stadium, Swansea

It was a long weekend but ultimately worth the effort!

We left home at around 9.30 on Saturday, Google reckoned the drive to our hotel just outside Cardiff would take three and a half hours. I was hoping we'd have time to check in and rest for a bit before carrying on to Swansea. Ha! The traffic was horrendous on both the M25 and the M4, meaning we didn't check into the hotel until nearly six hours after we arrived. It meant rushing around and getting ready quickly as I didn't want to miss out on a parking space.

In the end we got to the park and ride just after 4, and randomly bumped into an old friend that I hadn't seen for a long time. It was great to catch up and the weather was lovely in the afternoon so we sat around outside the stadium having a drink. We also met up with a couple of other groups of friends during the evening who we hadn't seen for a while.

First up were Public Service Broadcasting. I'd only heard the first album on the drive down but the band were pretty interesting - a support act I might investigate further, amazing!

Public Service Broadcasting
I hadn't seen Super Furry Animals for a long time - I think the last time was in 2001 in Southampton! They've not released much recently and so I wasn't expecting the set to be any good but I was emphatically wrong - it was brilliant! Definitely the best support act I've seen, a great set - one of the highlights was the new song "Bing Bong" where Gruff donned a Power Rangers helmet but had to hold the mic up to the visor!

Super Furry Animals
Within three songs of the first Manics set I knew it was going to be better than the Albert Hall gig - for starters I couldn't hear myself singing as everyone else knew all the words too! The atmosphere seemed much happier and people just wanted to have a good time. It was good to see a string section on stage and the trumpet player was excellent. It still seems strange to have A Design for Life as the second song but I guess they can't do much about that if they're playing the album in order!

Manic Street Preachers
The second half was also excellent, even if it did start to rain - Nicky Wire said some of his best gigs were in the rain and it was nothing to worry about, just as a flash of lightning illuminated the sky! No-one down the front was especially bothered though, we could just jump around to keep warm! The new Welsh football song was played and the crowd sang along enthusiastically - it's a shame the England team don't have a similar song this year, the only times we've done well in recent history were when we had a good official song (Italia 90/Euro 96). Despite having been driving all day and jumping around all evening I wish the set could have been longer, but I really enjoyed it and not even a long wait for the park and ride bus could spoil it.

We went home the next day via Cardiff - Anna really wanted to go to the Doctor Who Experience and we also saw a few related landmarks around the bay. The drive home was much better thankfully. I'm still knackered now though, I'm getting too old to do this too often!

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