Review: Manic Street Preachers, York Barbican, May 27

BANK Holiday Monday saw the packed Barbican evaporating from the monsoon outside.

The six-strong "three piece" took to the stage to play Manic Street Preachers' 1998 album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours track by track.

This idea has proven popular with long-established bands in recent times but I am not 100 per cent sold. In places it felt like the Manics were their own support for the latter excesses of the set.

An album track list works perfectly in the car but obviously has more moments of shade than the usual live firework display.

Nicky Wire would have made Liberace feel under-dressed, looking like he jumped off tour with Marc Bolan in '73 with his "too much is never enough" swagger and style. He is a rock star even when he goes to get his Sunday paper.

There is a true respect and love between bassist Wire and lead guitarist and singer James Dean Bradfield that shines throughout the show.

As they went into the classics, you could almost hear hearts swell as the creamy lead riff of Motorcycle Emptiness screamed from Bradfield’s white Les Paul, making the crowd move as one.

A high-octane cover of Guns N' Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine took all-comers by surprise and it blew the doors off.

Then we were reminded of the cocksure exuberance of the Manics that exploded in the early 1990s with the raw and raucous You Love Us that would make Dave Grohl wince.

They skipped the encore charade of leaving the stage just to return a minute later by bursting straight into Design For Life.

More than 20 years on, the mosh pit nods its head where it once bounced, but Bradfield can still rasp with his unique power and what a guitar player he is. Anthems that act like time machines to times where hair was thicker, commitment was a thing of the future and disposable income was disposed of all show the true emotional power of music.

This was not just another Manic Monday.

Review by Ian Donaghy