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Elbow and the Halle MIF review

Gordo writes of Elbow, orchestras and toffee caramels

Written by . Published on July 9th 2009.

Elbow and the Halle MIF review

At last, seated in M12 at the Bridgewater Hall, Gordo is ready for the gig, possibly, of the year. Elbow are about to come on stage and join an orchestra of world-class repute. The lads walk on to great applause, looking dead cheeky. It’s looking like a beautiful day to Gordo.

Guy Garvey starts to sing and his voice flows into the audience like a peaty single malt pouring into a cut glass, heavy tumbler, all brown velvet.

Frontman Guy Garvey, everybody’s pal here in Manchester, introduces the conductor and we get down to business. 'Station Approach' with a full orchestra and the Halle Youth Choir behind it is first up and is so powerful it sends tingles up and down Gordo’s spine. It eventually manages to pop a tear out of his left eye. Then another over on the right.

The audience are a mix of prawn butty munchers, Halle regulars bringing their crash carts with them, and a swath of fans, with a resulting atmosphere that builds over the evening into a wave of love.

It must be a mind-blowing experience for the lads. But there are dangers in bringing these different bands together. Many years ago, The Moody Blues did it with the London Symphony Orchestra and by chance Gordo bought the album again recently. After one run through, he threw it in the bin with Somerfield’s lasagne. Gordo isn’t sure which was worse.

Keyboardist Craig Potter looks at home here, showing his abilities to brilliant effect. Gordo suspects that Pete Turner is one of the world’s best bass boys. Drummer Richard Jupp lives it up in his own little stage at the back, with a bird in a black outfit wielding an anvil and a hammer in support. He has a grin from ear to ear. Mark Potter, guitarist, looks like a preacher suddenly finding himself sharing a stage with Jesus. He can't quite believe he's here.

Guy Garvey starts to sing and his voice flows into the audience like a peaty single malt pouring into a cut-glass, heavy tumbler, all brown velvet. Backed by a choir delivering a performance as good as, if not better than, a Manchester-trained cycle squad going after Olympic medals, 'Station Approach' puts the stamp on the rest of the performance; it's the best bag of caramel toffees in the world.

Marie Leenhardt, who Gordo has to fess up as being a drinking pal and is dead fit, was outstanding on the harp, spending the evening on Guy's right arm. Gordo is pretty sure that she can't believe she's onstage with Elbow either.

Guy Garvey and the boys gave the performance of their lives last night along with Joe Duddell's excellent orchestra. They showed that Manchester can drink at the bar with the best across the world.

Gordo thinks that maybe an album is on the way. If it is, it ain’t going in the bin with the lasagne.

Kill for a ticket tonight.

Follow Gordo on twitter GordoManchester

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22 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Cllr Mike AmesburyJuly 9th 2009.

Great review, this was another unique Manchester experience with the original English Orchestra and the superb contemporary Elbow. The never ending standing ovation on Wednesday evening was well deserved and the added touch of Castlefield last night was the icing on the cake.

shinealightJuly 9th 2009.

Gordo, your review really captures the mood, it was an amazing evening. Could they replicate that with an album? Maybe, if your front room was the size of a concert hall and you had a few thousand friends (that'll be a yes for Gordo then ;-)

davebelushiJuly 9th 2009.

we were there. looking down. we were in the roof seats. looking down. and it sounded. oh it sounded. just grand.

RichJuly 9th 2009.

Was there last night, utterly amazing concert. Real hair raised on the back of the nexk stuff.

DigJuly 9th 2009.

There's a tear n my because I wasn't there. If these guys were around in the 60's and 70's they'd be every bit as popular as Floyd or The Doors. Elbow are, for me, the best songwriters of the last 25 years.

GordoJuly 9th 2009.


AndymJuly 9th 2009.

Marie is swoonworthy yes!! I was going to miss this (after a week of festival overload!) but now I wanna go wanna go wanna go!

Heatons chickJuly 9th 2009.

Oops -sorry. That should have read "attempting to get £150 for 2 seats together" NOT 3..........

SausagesJuly 9th 2009.

She is fit. And she plays a harp just like a ringin' a bell.

Heatons chickJuly 9th 2009.

My other half and I lwere desperate for tickets but left it until very last moment (7.25pm) to start asking touts for prices. They were still attempting to get £150 plus for 3 seats together at this time which seemed ridiculous. 7.30pm came and went and they still wouldn't budge so went for quick drink. Hubby came back at 8pm with 2 tickets, albeit in separate seating areas - £20 for the pair. Disappointed to have missed the start but so very happy to have witnessed the event at all. Was simply amazing!

AndymJuly 9th 2009.

Marie is swoonworthy yes!! I was going to miss this (after a week of festival overload!) but now I wanna go wanna go wanna go!

handy72July 9th 2009.

It was amazing, we were in the choir seats so behind the speakers, but right next to the choir (obviously!). The sound mix wasn't great from this position but we could see and feel what was going on really well - wish I was going tonight too...

LJuly 9th 2009.

Possibly Manchesters 2 best bands on stage together. I went to the "dress" rehearsal and like Gordo had a tear in my eye. Wonderful stuff. What a privilege.Manchesters finest.

MassivenapaJuly 9th 2009.

We were there on Wednesday – 6th row, right in front of Guy – the sound was just goose bumpingly beautiful – layers and layers of sumptuous sounds swirling around the auditorium topped with Guy’s vocals sounding note perfect. The choir were excellent – truly much more than the sum of their parts and the songs where they used a mirrorball to swathe the hall in cascading lights (including the song Mirrorball – obv) was just magical.It was an absolute privilege to witness that event and something that is unlikely to be repeated. I do hope that either a film or a CD is released to mark the occasion. I knew so many people who wanted to go and couldn’t get tickets – for me – I used Ebay and it was worth it.

Disillusioned DanJuly 9th 2009.

A MASSIVE well done to EVERYONE involved in the organising of MIF09. I sat with my girlfriend in the Castlefield Arena last night and thoroughly enjoyed the Elbow gig, from the fantastic music to the excitement of the crowd (and waving to the passing train driver!). That, together with Sunday's 'Procession' and relaxing in Albert Square, have made this a week to remember. I can't express enough how much I hope MIF becomes an ANNUAL event.

mark mJuly 9th 2009.

Apparently in rehearsals the Elbow boys were saying to each other 'hey, check this out, we're playing with The Halle!' Much mutual respect.

AnonymousJuly 9th 2009.

LOADS of touts outside the Bridgewater hall last night, right up until the doors were closing inside and performance starting. They were looking very nervous coming up to 7.30 too, as once the doors are shut, you can't get in. Might be worth chatting to a tout around 7:25 and getting cheaper tickets, deffo don't go the tout route early

AnonymousJuly 9th 2009.

For anyone that doesn't already know, there is a free big screen live relay of the concert tonight, at the Castlefield arena. More details here: http://tinyurl.com/q2mdb2

Bad Hat HArryJuly 9th 2009.

Paid £120 for a pair off a tout at about 7 last night. Worth the price if like me you missed out, but thinking back, if you left it later you could do better. Got him down from £200.Amazing gig though. I hope they do release it as an album.

Food for thoughtJuly 9th 2009.

Well looking forward to this tonight. And thanks for the reminder to take caramel toffees.

SuzeJuly 9th 2009.

I went with my husband on Thurs night managed to get tickets on Monday from the box office. Couldnt believe my luck. The gig was amazing, I feel so privelaged to have been there. Massive thanks to Elbow, the Halle and the youth choir for an unforgettable evening.

MarvoJuly 9th 2009.

As far as I'm concerned this was a real "where were you?" event for Manchester music.....I mean the oldest orchestra in the country (150th anniversary) alongside the current best (all round) band from the city/country, playing in Manchester....at the bridgewater hall and beamed to thousands in a sunny castlefield.....what else do you want? really.....? what else could you ask for?(apart from being able to have a booze at your seat in the B. Hall). I was lucky, I was there tonight (Thursday) and it was flawless, superb, amazing, emotional, inspiring, all of the above and much more.....it was a historical night for Manchester music....

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