An evening at the Eden Project with the Manic Street Preachers

21 years ago the Manic Street Preachers lyricist and guitarist Richey Edwards, went missing and the band’s future looked bleak.

In 1993, the band made a comeback and reformed as a three piece and fans were lucky enough to join the band celebrate its 20th anniversary, as they did with one of the fans favourite albums, The Holy Bible back in 2014. Throughout 2016 the Preachers have been touring ‘Everything Must Go’ around the UK and Europe.

I have been waiting to see the Manic Street Preachers since the 1990’s and what better place to watch them play than in the tropical surroundings of the lit up biomes at the Eden Project.

When the tickets went on sale, I waited for the countdown and booked two tickets for my mum and me. My mum hadn’t even heard the Manic Street Preachers music but thought it would be good to see the band that was playing in Cornwall for the first time ever.
We arrived around 4pm and headed to the café for a drink and a piece of cake before a quick browse around the shop for a quick look and through the admissions gate to collect our bright yellow wristbands. I wanted to buy myself a Manic Street Preacher T-shirt, but I was disappointed with the lack of merchandise available and the prices so I purchased my T-shirt and double “Everything Must Go” CD online for £32 instead of paying £25 just for a T-shirt.

Unfortunately, the half an hour wait in the queue to go into the arena felt like eternity, especially when the light misty drizzle started and began to get heavier, I had to reach for my new rain mac from Fat Face. When we were finally allowed into the arena, I managed to stand just two rows from the front of the stage, which was exciting because I have never been that close before. We had to wait another half an hour for the first support band to come on at 6.40pm.

The Anchoress
I had never heard of this band before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them. The band is lead by Welsh multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and author Catherine Anne Davies alongside her Violinist, drummer, bass player, and cello player she played on the keyboards. The crowd appeared to be quite impressed with her music until she turned political. The singer-songwriter made a comment about Nigel Farage and UKIP, and dedicated the song “PS Fuck You.” The audience didn’t appear to be impressed by this.

The Bill Ryder-Jones Band
This is the first time I had ever listened to this band and I have to say these guys are brilliant, it’s not just their music I loved, but also their humour, energy, and they really looked like they were enjoying the occasion and interacting with the audience. Their leader Bill Ryder-Jones was the lead guitarist with The Coral, and English rock band formed in 1996. Bill Ryder-Jones played on the band’s first five albums. In 2005, he briefly stopped touring with the band due to a stress-related illness.

The singer-songwriter, musician, composer, and record producer is a real talent and a cool guy who has recorded solo albums as well as collaborated with Blur’s Graham Coxon and Paloma Faith. I sent a message on twitter to say what an excellent show they put on and he even had the courtesy to like the tweet from his personal account. Not many celebrities tweet you back from their own account. In fact, only one celebrity springs to mind, Nicola from Emmerdale who I interviewed at Inside Soap Magazine back in 2004.

The Manic Street Preachers

I was almost shaking with excitement as I watched and took pictures of the band’s equipment being set up. The group had some great looking and sounding Fender and Gibson guitars on the rack, which I would relish the chance to play.

Fresh from their Welsh football celebrations in Cardiff the previous night the band didn’t disappoint as they came on stage and kicked off with “Motorcycle Emptiness.” My favourite Manics song is “Australia” this one really got the audience jumping. It’s a special song for me because it reminds me of the time I spent 3 weeks in Australia back in 2006.

“Little Baby Nothing” saw The Anchoress’s lead singer, Catherine Anne Davies return to the stage for a duet with James in a role that has previously been occupied by Traci Lords, Kylie Minogue among others.

As the rain continued to fall, James spoke to the audience and played “Raindrops are falling on my head” with a guest trumpet player. Nicky, the bands bass player paid tribute to former band member Richey Edwards, “This song is dedicated to Richey Edwards, who is with us every time we play on stage, and the group played their 1991 hit “You love us.” This song was the last song the band played live with Richey before he went missing.
“A design for life” ended the show after an hour and a half of playing their greatest hits.

I would definitely go and see the Manic Street Preachers play again, even my mum enjoyed the music, she also loved “The Bill Ryman-Jones band.”

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