Two iconic Brit-rock bands relive a shared show on the road
While neither band is a stranger to the touring road, way back in 1994, Manic Street Preachers and Suede zigzagged throughout Europe together on a 20-show run that cemented their friendship. 28 years later, to the night, instead of playing Paradiso in Amsterdam, they closed their tour together at Toronto’s Massey Hall.
Suede opened the night with She Still Leads Me On and then Personality Disorder from Autofiction, the album the London quintet released this fall. Belying his 55 years, frontman Brett Anderson remained dialed to ten for the entire hour and a half or so of his set. Whether strolling out to sing in and with the audience several times or jumping, writhing and stalking, when he finally left the stage, his shirt was soaked without a dry patch and his painted-on jeans were marred with stage dust. Touching upon all the fan’s faves, Suede’s set included The Drowners (once covered by the Manics), Metal Mickey, Animal Nitrate, Trash and We Are The Pigs among others. Anderson took a moment to play The Wild Ones solo acoustic, dedicated to former MSP guitarist Richey Edwards. Ending the song, he yelled “Let’s fuck it up” and so the full band launched into So Young from their 1993 self-titled debut. Ending their set and tour with Beautiful Ones, it was clear that Toronto had provided Suede with an audience that exceeded the energy put out by the band. In all my years seeing shows at Massey Hall, this was the liveliest, highest energy crowd I’ve seen in the venue. There were so many people dancing, I couldn’t make it to my seat. Not that I needed to be the only seated person watching the show.
Walking out to David Bowie’s Speed of Life, a thinned-out but no less energetic crowd greeted the Manic Street Preachers. Making their first appearance in Toronto since 2015, the Welsh four-piece of singer-guitarist James Dean Bradfield, bassist Nicky Wire and drummer Sean Moore were joined by backup guitarist and singer Wayne Murray. Opening with numbers like You Stole the Sun From My Heart, Everything Must Go and La tristesse durera (Scream to a Sigh), the band quickly showed that despite having first visited Toronto 30 years prior, they’ve lost none of their energy or force from the stage. Mid-set gave the dancing crowd, Slash ‘n’ Burn,
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next and International Blue. With a nod to the Hall, Bradfield mentioned the thrill of sharing a stage trod on by Canadian icons, Rush and Neil Young. A pair of interesting covers peppered the set – Suicide is Painless, the theme from the film and TV show, M*A*S*H and The Cult’s 80s hit, She Sells Sanctuary. The latter (which prompted Wire to don a feather boa) was greeted more than the former. Dedicated to Suede, Your Love Is Not Enough followed along with the heartfelt Walk Me To The Bridge. Upon introducing the band, Bradfield as usual named former member Richey Edwards, who disappeared in 1995 pushing the band to almost dissolve. Played as the encore, A Design For Life tightened their knit again allowing them to continue in Edwards’ mysterious absence. Leaving the stage to loud cheers, it was clear that Toronto won’t tolerate another long delay before the next Manics show.