Elbow. Plymouth Pavillions.
A band I have loved for years, whose music means so much. A venue I’ve never heard of.
Having no annual leave left, nor money for hotel I had to travel 3 hours by coach after a full days work to get there. I love Elbow so much and this was to be my first time seeing them live so I was nervous with excitement. Please, please be brilliant I was thinking.
I managed to get myself pretty close to the front and as I entered the cavernous hall I was already beaming just at being there. The venue is, well, weird. An ice rink come swimming pool come music venue. Made of concrete. With a tiny front door I had to walk round the building twice to find. Huge space, strange shape, but I was to be in the same room as Elbow so all of that didn’t really matter.
The support was from the excellent C Duncan, who I saw in a much smaller venue headlining recently (was gig 1 of this adventure – 40:1). I had fallen in love with their gorgeous harmonies there and was pleased to be seeing them again. They did a great support job, and as most of the crowd had arrived early they were given plenty of support in return.
Then Elbow. Oh me . Oh my. They opened with Gentle Storm, which is among my favourites on the new album, such beautiful sentiment. But that’s Elbow. You either utterly love them for their ferocious romanticism (nicked that from the Guardian) or you aren’t my friend. I was lost in the music from the get go and dancing, moving, swaying and silent singing from this first song.
I am nursing a sore heart, so Mirrorball had me in rivers of tears. One day I want to be loved like that. One day I want to love like that. The tears didn’t really stop from here until One Day Like This, the guitar part in Little Fictions set me off all over again and New York Morning was almost too much. It was such an emotional night. I’ve not felt a gig like that for a long time. The powerful emotional connection between us and the band was so strong. Guy weaves his magic, the power of that gorgeous honeyed voice, like a golden thread, stitching all of us together, supported and enhanced by the incredible musicians behind him. I laughed as well as cried, smiled, felt wrapped in a blanket of beautiful, comforting music. I was in a place of safety and love. I want to live in an Elbow gig. Music is my home.
One Day Like This, a song given to us all, with love, as a gift from the band. They will probably never be able to not play this song, and whatever it may have meant to the band, its ours now. Like a parent to a child, passing unconditional love. I was uplifted and carried on the joy of strangers. It was glorious.
I didn’t want it to end, but as it had to I am glad the final song was Grounds For Divorce, always leave ’em smiling and wanting more. And they did.
As I find crowds quite difficult to deal with (and I had more than 2 hours before my Megabus home) I waited for the room to clear and took moments to breathe in the experience. I had failed to secure a set list until I saw the sound crew. Thank you lovely crew for doing your best in a big, big space. The lighting was spot on too, there were some wonderful shadows cast against the big concrete walls. Thank you also for my set list so that I can remember and relive the most magnificent gig I’ve experienced in years.
With time to waste I hung about on the off chance the boys would come out. If nothing else, it was brightly lit and there would be other people there to keep me safe I thought. I got chatting with the small band of others who were waiting, all lovely folk. We shared stories, hugs and instagram details. I may see some of them again on this 40 gigs adventure. This is what music does; brings people together.
Mark and Guy came out and so I have not only a signed set list and ticket but had the opportunity to say thank you to them for all the wonderful music. Thank you again. For it all, for the music, for the gig, for being such gentlemen and allowing me to clumsily express what your music means. For the hug, Guy, it will be treasured.
My soul is healed, consoled and my life made richer with meaning because of Elbow’s music.Presuming Ed will always, always make me cry: life is indeed the orginal miracle.
6 down. 34 to go.