The Olympic Games performance of One Day Like This propelled Elbow into the forefront of my consciousness, when they’d previously been lurking in my peripheral vision. At this gig, they took the seemingly unusual step of putting the game changer in the middle of the set list, rather than as the rousing finale (which was the “sentimental but anthemic” Sad Captains), but it got it out of the way and made it clear that they are not a band defined by one individual track. Indeed the set list was full of older tracks that I was not familiar with, only being in possession of the Seldom Seen Kid and Take Off albums, but I was pleasantly taken with them and the rockier elements on display. Mexican Standoff has the bitter sweet (or should that be sweet bitter?) line “Your sweet reassurances don’t change the fact that he’s better looking than me, Yet he’d look ideal ‘neath the wheels of a car”. Bitten By The Tailfly lets rip in a satisfying fashion, and The Birds is a monster of a song. So these benefits far outweighed the fact that my favourite track of recent times, Charge, was excluded. Guy got about a bit instrument wise, showcasing his skills on electric guitar, keyboard, drums and something that resembled a balloon pump in The Take Off And Landing Of Everything.
As well as the music, you get the warmth of the “Big soft git” Guy Garvey, who easily chats to his audience in his self deprecating and affable manner. At ease sharing the background to the tracks, which ranged from leaving their home town (which they never did), broken relationships, love triangles and death, it’s an open book of growing and ageing. And if you reap what you sow in this world, the Elbow audience was a comfortable and cosy place to be, a gathering of “normal” folk. There was a lady near me making some hand gestures akin to those that Rod Hull probably uses inside Emu, but hey, everyone was showing the love in their own “no such thing as normal” way. The evening left me feeling warm and fluffy, as if I’d been given a comforting musical cuddle.