Manic Street Preachers celebrating The 20th Anniversary Of Their Everything Must Go Album at The Genting Arena Birmingham on Saturday 14th May 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Twenty years ago the future for the Manic Street Preachers looked very uncertain. Their principle lyricist and guitarist Richey Edwards had gone missing and it was unclear if the Manic’s would ever recover. But recover they did as a three piece and went on to release their classic album, Everything Must Go.

Twenty years may have passed but Everything Must Go is an album which has stood the test of time, by a band that will continue to do so. Lead song from the album, A Design For Life feels a little out of place second up but it sees an early sing along with James Dean Bradfield’s tremendous working class vocals echoing around the Birmingham Genting Arena.

Playing a twenty year old album in full inevitably means that they were going to play some rarely performed tracks. Removables was glorious and there was a spine tingling acoustic rendition of Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky.

The other singles from the album were also snapshots of a brilliant era for UK music, with Australia, Kevin Carter, and Everything Must Go being well re-visited. The highlight of the first half was The Girl Who Wanted To Be God, which is rarely played live and it’s opening riff and euphoric strings mix was enough to get the fans dancing on the ceiling.

A crisp Enola/Alone left a lasting impression as a piece of Brit rock genius and Bradfield’s acoustic solo and album closer No Surface All Feeling offered further euphoria to the majestic first half.

Following a brief interval, the second part of the night offered the epic guitar anthems which have become the Manics trademark. With Bradfield starting off with a gorgeous acoustic version of Tsunami, the whole band sparked the night off again with energetic zeal with set list mainstays such as Motorcycle Emptiness, You Love Us, and You Stole The Sun From My Heart.

There was the phenomenal (It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love, and a pleasing cover of Fiction Factory’s (Feels Like) Heaven. Finishing off with If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next, the crowd went beautifully berserk and bounced around as if their lives depended upon it. Whether it be a twenty year old album, or the Manic’s greatest hits, the show was superb; showing that if you have class you will always have class.