Manic Millennium - Cardiff 31/12/99 - By Lindz Delirium

This gig had promised so much, and in the end, delivered so much more. When I first heard about this gig I was so excited, the prospect of spending the last few hours of the old millennium, and the first few hours of the new one with the Manics, in Cardiff was just wonderful. The only problem I had now was convincing boyfriend Kev that it was a good idea, but after a bit of bribery (e.g. “I’ll buy your tickets and pay for the hotel, please please please”) he was convinced. Well not convinced, but he said we could go. The night before we stayed at the Travelodge at Aust Services on the old Severn Bridge. A lot of people asked me if it felt “funny” – with the Richey thing and all that, but the fact is, it didn’t. Just felt normal really. The 5am alarm that seemed such a good idea the night before didn’t seem quite so appealing the cold light (or dark) of day. I dragged myself out of bed, got grunted at by Kev, his brother and sister-in-law and got ready to go. I woke Kev up so he could drive me into Cardiff, having only taken one car for the weekend. When I arrived at the stadium I was struck by the immense size of it, I quickly found gate 6, and set myself up for the long queue ahead. Emily and Jane joined me about half an hour later and Kev left to go back to bed (he probably had the best idea). I won’t go into the queuing process but needless to say it was very cold, and very boring. The first support was Patrick Jones and his band, he looked terrified but quickly relaxed into it when he saw the amount of support he was getting from the fans. He had a number of Welsh actors up with him to read “The Guerilla Tapestry” which was a real highlight. Next up were Shack, who quite honestly the dullest thing I have seen in a very, very long time, the barrier was beginning the squish me by this time and I was getting very uncomfortable. After Shack came Feeder, who I enjoyed, and would have enjoyed a lot more had it not been for the crowdsurfing wankers who insisted on kicking me in the head all the time.

After Feeder were Super Furry Animals, I really enjoyed their set especially “Demons” and “Fire in my heart” but I really thought they played for too long, or maybe I was just getting impatient waiting for the Manics. During the wait for the Manics I dared to look behind me, and the sheer immenseness (if that’s a real word?) of the occasion hit me, 66,000 people was it? All of them squashing me to death it felt like!!! They had big screens up either side of the stage and were showing videos of such gems as Nirvana’s “Smells like teen spirit” amongst other things, along with messages from the likes of Tom Jomes, Arthur Scargill, Charlotte Church (?) and so on. Finally I knew the wait was over, the montage of video clips started on the big screens, huge screams ricocheted around the stadium as the ”Suicide Babies” shot loomed onto the big screens and the three of them took to the stage, James in his trademark black, Sean in his…errr….trademark black, and Nicky in his knee high sock, trainers and a white dressing gown in the style of er, well, Mike Tyson or someone I suppose!!! Nicky took off his dressing gown to reveal a fetching pink skirt, and…hey! What the hell?!….at this point I began to scream, I mean really, really scream. The Wire was only bloody wearing the t-shirt I made him and gave to security Steve at V99 in Stafford (see issue 4), BLOODY HELL!!! There it was, all in it’s pinkness, emblazoned with “Culture Slut” – bloody hell. MY t-shirt, he was wearing MY t-shirt, I couldn’t stop screaming! After the first song, “You Stole The Sun” I had managed to calm down a bit, and remembered my duty as a fanzine editor to get my camera out, and started snapping away. The rest of the gig, if I am honest is a bit of a blur, and as I am sure you will all have the video (outtro of “walking abortion”, me, grey t-shirt, looking, well, angry I suppose, “who’s responsible, you fucking are” complete with obligatory pointing movements – not cool, just ridiculous!) I won’t go through it all in detail, just try to recall some of the things that stuck in my mind.

Plus, I am writing this review in June, a full six months after the event (lazy, moi?). Of course we all got excited about hearing “Masses” again, plus we also got treated to “Rock & Roll Music” which I loved, James’ stunning version of “Can’t take my eyes off of you”, thought I would never hear it live, but I did, and beautiful it was too, he had almost the whole stadium singing the “ba da ba da” bits in unison, very cool. The funny moments for me had to be James losing his guitar more than once and resorting to some dodgy dance (don’t do it James!), which sadly was cut to a minimum on the video, but was damn entertaining, Nicky’s rant about Fatboy Slim in the ice rink, dissing Renault, cos they “stole Richey’s title – fuck Renault!!!”, and of course, the socks, mmm, the socks. When will he ever learn? The countdown to going live on the telly made me soo excited, but that had to be the point where James’ guitar strap gave up on him, much to Deptford John’s despair (by the look on his face!!), Nicky’s posh costume change into his er, shorts, and one of Yvonne’s lovely capes (cape maker to the stars?). All in all it was a fitting occasion to leave the old century in style, and well, you all heard it before, but it made me realise, again, just how important the Manics are to each and every one of us.