The Academy 2, Manchester, 13th December (14/12/02)


Got back home half an hour ago. Good gig! Very busy, I thought. The intimacy of smaller venues was missing, but the atmosphere was still good. Some brief memories. They kicked off with "Light At The End Of The Tunnel". An early joke about the amount of dry ice on stage ("we started a fire in the dressing room area") flashed by; a good few numbers from the recent LP were aired, sounding very fine indeed ("Broadstairs" was a highlight for me). Funny ad-libs during "Thy Damnation Slumbereth Not"; a new busked song about attending the wrong grave of a loved one for several years; a great, cruching version of "Monmore"... Some funny topical references slipped into songs featuring Manchester landmarks... Ken windmilling, Townsend style, during "Everything's AOR" (he IS Rock and Roll)... Quite a few old songs too - "Fred Titmus", "Venus in Flares", "Dukla Prague", the chorus of "The Best Things in Life". A surprise cover of that old C&W cheddar, "Lucille" too. Nigel produced a dictaphone in the encore and played what could be called "Argos ambiance". But nobody really got it. They finished with a mad thrash through "Trumpton Riots", when the moshpit doubled in size. A fine way to spend an evening in drizzly Manchester!