The first part of my ebook is available to read as a free download but I thought I'd post an entry here from later in the book. I saw Manic Street Preachers four times with the original line-up, the first gig being in London in 1991 (which is included in the book) and the second the following year in Dundee. But this extract is from two gigs in Glasgow in '93 and '94.
Drum Solos, Bottles & Bands
Memories of a Concert-goer 1981-1999
Memories of a Concert-goer 1981-1999
Chapter 5 - The Fife Years
Manic Street Preachers
QMU & Barrowlands, Glasgow
1993 - 1994
In July 1993 the Manics announced a date at the Glasgow Barrowlands. It was a Saturday so I drove through to Glasgow in the afternoon getting to the venue in plenty of time, or so I thought. As I walked up to the entrance I thought it was looking suspiciously quiet and when I got to the door I saw there was a notice stuck on it. My heart sank as I assumed the gig had been cancelled. These days it's much easier for bands and venues to get information out to fans if a gig is cancelled but in the days before mobile phones and the internet you often only found out when you got to the venue. This happened to me at a Rolling Stones concert in London in 1990 and a few years later I drove the 80 miles from St Andrews to Aberdeen to find that The Wonder Stuff had cancelled their gig at the Music Hall.
But the good news that day was that the concert hadn't been cancelled - it had just been moved to a different venue, namely the Queen Margaret Union at Glasgow University. The bad news was that I had no idea where the venue was and they hadn't bothered to put any directions on the sign outside the Barrowlands. So I drove into the city centre and managed to find a student hall of residence and the janitor there pointed me in the right direction. By the time I got to the Union I'd missed one of the support bands but did hear Blaggers ITA before the Manics came on stage. My two main memories of that gig were firstly how impressed I was by Sean Moore's drumming and secondly how much Richey Edwards looked like he was enjoying himself. At one point a couple of girls threw a feather boa at him which he picked up and wrapped round his neck with a big smile on his face. It was tragic that his life subsequently took such a downward turn and that in 1995 he disappeared off the face of the earth.
I did see him one last time with the band in October 1994 at the Barrowlands. I never found out why they had moved to the QMU on the previous occasion but I'm guessing that they hadn't sold enough tickets. But by 1994 they were big enough of fill the Barras and had two very good support bands - Dub War and Sleeper. The mood was certainly much darker than on the previous tour which reflected the feel of their third studio album, The Holy Bible. I ended up out of pocket that night as I'd bought two tickets but had been unable to find anyone who wanted to come to the gig. As it wasn't sold out, the box office wasn't interested in taking the ticket off me so I stood outside and tried to sell it. I made a point of saying I only wanted the face value of the ticket but people avoided me like I was a tout. There was a chap begging near the entrance to try and get enough money for a ticket so I asked him if he wanted my spare one for whatever he'd collected. He said I was welcome to what was in his hat but it was mostly coppers which I didn't want to be weighed down with. I was going to go back to trying to sell my ticket but time was marching on and I didn't want to miss the support bands. The chap then said to me, “you can either give me the ticket and I get to see the gig or you can go in with a spare piece of paper in your pocket”. When he put it like that I gave in and handed him the ticket. He thanked me and said he'd buy me a pint inside but I lost sight of him once we'd got past security. I hope he enjoyed the show.
There have been certain bands which I have really connected with and in the early-to-mid 90s I couldn't get enough of Manic Street Preachers. When their second album Gold Against The Soul came out I played it endlessly. It wasn't a very happy time in my life and the Manics, with songs like 'From Despair To Where', were a great comfort to me. And I know I wasn't alone as many people could relate to Richey's depression, alcohol abuse and self-harming. I have followed the Manics since those days but stopped going to see them live several years ago mainly due to my tinnitus.