Haygarth excursion: The Wedding Present, Manchester Academy

Okay so it’s an old picture and it misses out the new rotund drummer, but it’s all i can be ar5ed to find. Quite a surprise for Katie and i to go and see the Wedding Present on Saturday and be blown away after all these times i’ve seen them (think it’s thirteen now). They were shockingly tight, and the audio was just bang on – very good PA, etc.

Helped by over 20 years of ace material, they came up with a set list that very succesfully melded the old and the new. First time I’ve heard them play ‘Go out and get ’em boy’, and it prompted a return to listening to Tommy! They played something from every album and many of these were the first time I’ve heard the songs live. Really made a difference – it shows how thoughtful set lists can help. The almost segwayed first three tracks (CorduroySuckerBlue Eyes) were mind-blowing and it was difficult to believe that the energy could continue at that level. It did.

David Gedge‘s trademarks of ultra-fast strumming and semi-dischordant slide guitar gave the evening a reassuring continuity. Good humoured and at times bordering on funny, David’s comments and jibes showed how relaxed he can be after all these years. He’s got a persona where he looks both comfortable and also very uncomfortable on stage (unlike Terry (bass) and Simon (Guitar) who appear to not even know they’re on stage!. New drummer dude is very into things. Fast and furious, and prepared to improvise his rolls a bit more, it made it feel a bit more ‘rocky’, in a good way.

Final comment: Simon Cleave (guitar) where did all your weight go? You were looking troublingly porky last time i saw Cinerama in 2002 and now you’re a waif of a man. Fell running?