Sodden Manic’s Storm Sessions
It’s been a long time since the Manic Street Preachers graced a stage in Cornwall and luckily I was there to see the magic again. As I headed towards the Eden project for the penultimate show of this year’s Eden Sessions, the weather was miserable. Low cloud and heavy drizzle made visibility difficult and I just hoped it would be brighter inside the venue. As I parked the car and made my way down the Eden pathways, the rain had eased slightly but it was still very overcast and looked like it was in for the rest of the night. Probably due to the conditions, people left it to the last minute to make their way into arena but as soon as the first band started the spaces soon disappeared.
That first band were a band who the Manic Street Preachers had chosen themselves as support and they were The Anchoress.
I got the impression from those around me that like myself, they were not overly impressed by this support slot. Although their sound was good they did very little to inspire me.
With the Manics being more rock than pop I suppose I had expected a more rocky band to join them.
The tunes that The Anchoress put out were more delicate and perhaps too subtle for those gathered in the rain.
Next up was Bill Ryder-Jones who’s probably best known as the lead guitarist of psychedelic indie rockers The Coral. Being a fan of The Coral I had been looking forward to see what Bill’s solo project had to offer. I had expected something similar to his previous band but just like the first act, Bill’s new style had slowed things down and this didn’t seem to sit too well with the now packed venue.
The music could be best described as pleasant and although I enjoyed his band’s performance it didn’t make me rush out to buy his album.
I do however think that if I were to sit and listen in the comfort of my own home as opposed to a rain soaked Eden I may have enjoyed it much more.
It did however leave the mass of Manic fans with plenty of energy to enjoy what they had all come to see. As Bill’s set ended there was the usual rush to the beer tent and the new exit/entrance left many regulars confused but did stop the usual bottleneck that occurs at the exits either side of the stage.
The rain had eased to a fine mist blowing in across the venue as the Manic Street Preachers took to the stage and the change in the atmosphere was instantly noticeable.
There was a buzz that hadn’t been there for the first two acts and as the Manics let rip with their first song of the night, the crowd became a sway of flailing arms whilst others jumped up and down to the beat.
Having seen them perform many years ago I had been left slightly disappointed, but tonight they seemed full of life as they blazed a steady trail through their impressive back catalogue. As the rain returned it didn’t seem to matter anymore as everyone’s eyes were fixed on the stage as they hung off every word.
With no sign of the sun things just gradually got darker which brought the stage lighting into effect. This emphasized the rain as it caught the light beams that shone down on the stars as they made light of the conditions to keep playing at their finest.
Having been around for many years, the Manics have honed their playing skills and this was evident on this performance as they put on a faultless display that even included a few lines from “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head,” which got a big cheer from the crowd.
We even got to see The Anchoress vocalist return to the stage to duet with the band on “Little Baby Nothing” and her performance this time got a large round of applause.
As the inevitable closing track “Design For Life” started the usual exodus started but not in mass like most other shows at Eden. Those that did stay not only heard this classic track in full but also got showered with streamers as the two Co2 cannons each side of the stage blew projectiles into the night sky making a fitting end for the rain drenched fans. With so many great sessions this year, the Eden Sessions have gained in momentum and I, like many others will be waiting anxiously to see what next year’s sessions have to offer.