Following tours marking two decades since the release of ‘The Holy Bible‘ (1994) and ‘Everything Must Go‘ (1996) it was perhaps inevitable that the the Manic Street Preachers would do the same for ‘This Is my Truth Tell Me Yours‘ (1998). Now technically it’s 21 years since their biggest selling album was released but the Welsh trio were in Tokyo to play a couple of gigs in the build up to seeing their beloved Wales play against Australia in the Rugby World Cup.
Toyosu Pit is a 3000 capacity venue about 15 minutes on foot from Toyosu Station on the Yurakucho Line. It was my debut at this place and also my first proper music concert for seven years with the last time being their 2012 show at Shin Kiba’s Studio Coast. What’s happened to me? I used to love going to gigs, concerts and music festivals when I was younger but I guess this has been caused by just not listening to music so much these days.
Along with my school manager Shinobu, we were at the Pit at around 5pm even though the doors didn’t open till an hour later. The support act were a Japanese band called Asian Kung-Fu Generation who I have long been aware of but without ever hearing any of their songs. Their set began at 7:00 pm and it was actually quite good but I couldn’t help but wish for them to finish so we could get the main act on! As it was, they were only on for about 30 minutes and when they finished we were joined by former colleague Dennis.
One of the things I love about live sets is the anticipation of what song might come next but that is pretty much removed when giving an album the live start-to-finish treatment. There are always a few fairly average tracks, and on ‘This Is My Truth...’ there are a number of slow, depressing acoustic-style numbers. On addressing the crowd for the first time after three songs, singer James Dean Bradfield even joked himself about us maybe wanting to go to the bar whilst they completed the rest of the album. It was nice to experience some songs I’ve never heard live before but my mind did start to drift off a bit as they continued and I suppose I did long for their more anthemic songs.
I have always loved the passion and emotion in lead singer James Dean Bradfield’s voice. He may not be the lyricist but he does an amazing job spitting them out with great aplomb. The guy is a master of somehow squeezing extra syllables into lines where they really should not fit! The same can be said of his ability to stretch them out! As for actually understanding what he’s singing, well that’s a different matter entirely! I struggle sometimes so god knows what it’s like for the non-native speakers. Likewise for his between-songs chat. He was on good form though and said he was off to the Golden Gai drinking district in Shinjuku after the show with drinks available for the first ten to turn up!
This was the Manics’ last gig of the year and once the album had been completed (with the exception of b-side ‘Prologue To History‘ replacing ‘Nobody Loved You‘) there was time for some greatest hits. However, with an extensive back catalogue of 13 studio albums to their name it’s almost impossible to satisfy everyone. Fans of ‘The Holy Bible‘ (1994), ‘Know Your Enemy‘ (2001), ‘Lifeblood‘ (2004), ‘Journal For Plague Lovers‘ (2009), ‘Postcards From A Young Man‘ (2010), ‘Rewind The Film‘ (2013) and ‘Futurology‘ (2014) will have left disappointed as no tracks from those albums were included.
The band is known for throwing a few surprises into the set and this was no exception as a cover version of the Gun’s N’ Roses classic ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine‘ was played. That was a great moment but the hairs-standing-up-on-the-back-of-my-neck moments were reserved for ‘If You Tolerate..‘, ‘Everything Must Go‘, ‘Design For Life‘ and ‘Motorcycle Emptiness‘ which does make it seem like I’m only a fan of their biggest, most popular hits! I can’t control those little hairs though can I!
With the big Welsh Rugby World Cup match taking place two days after this gig I thought they might even do a rare live performance of ‘Together Stronger (C’Mon Wales)’. Yes, I know it was written about a different sport but the sentiment is principally the same. Needless to say that they didn’t perform it but there was a rugby connection towards the end as former Welsh and British Lions player Jamie Roberts joined the band on stage for a guitar cameo of sorts on ‘You Love Us‘.
Outside the venue I met up with ex-student Toru and, together with two of Shinobu’s friends, we all went for a beer outside a convenience store near the station.
It was a nice way to round off the night for a band that means a lot to me. When they burst onto the scene in the early 1990’s I took note of them and liked their songs but it wasn’t until their second album in 1993 that I really became a proper fan of their music. They were well up and running by the time ‘This Is My Truth…‘ came out in 1999 and it is their only number one album to date. Whether there is a 20th anniversary tour of ‘Know Your Enemy‘ (2001) in two or three years only time will tell. I really can’t imagine it to be honest but would be more than happy to see it happen!
Setlist: The Everlasting; You Stole The Sun From My Heart; Ready For Drowning; My Little Empire; Tsunami; I’m Not Working; You’re Tender And You’re Tired; Born A Girl (Acoustic); Be Natural; Black Dog On My Shoulder; Prologue To History; S.Y.M.M.; If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next; Slash ‘N Burn; Your Love Alone Is Not Enough; Lat Tristessa Durera: Everything Must Go; International Blue; A Design For Life; Little Baby Nothing; Sweet Child O’ Mine; You Love Us; Stay Beautiful; Motorcycle Emptiness.
Click here to read ‘Manic Street Preachers Live In Tokyo 2012’
Click here to read ‘Manic Street Preachers Live In Tokyo 2010’
Click here to read ‘Music Videos Filmed In Japan #4 Manic Street Preachers – ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ (1992)’