Review: Elbow at The Powerstation
There are bands you like and there are bands you love. Then there are bands that make people fall in love; fall in love with them and with each other.
It seems clear now that Elbow is one of these bands.
Like many loves, it went unsaid - it didn't need to be spelt out. This was a crowd of admirers who had waited a long time to see the object of their affection in the flesh. It was very kind then, for singer, king of banter, tamer of the drunks, and all round bloody nice guy Guy Garvey, to apologise early on for the band's reticence at visiting these shores up until now.
But the loyal lovers didn't care; they were there now and both parties were ready to make up for lost time.
First track out of the blocks, The Birds, started things as they meant to go on - swirling, big, intimate, beautiful. Garvey might be great between the songs - telling tales of his mother, that desperate moment at 6am when your heart has been broken, his childhood dream of being a priest, his current role as a gay icon - but he was brilliant during them.
He brought the stompers like Grounds for Divorce, Neat Little Rows and Station Approach to life with his trademark soaring intensity, and a band that rolls like a well-oiled machine, so strong, so powerful, so very, very good.
But the thing many fans adore about Elbow is the way they tell stories, tales of love and loss in the simplest, yet most intricate of ways. And it was when things were taken down a notch the true extent of this band was revealed.
Even in a room with all those other people, it felt like it was just you and the music. The middle of the set was almost set aside for a more reflective moment, so much so that Garvey kindly asked the audience to just take a minute and listen.
And you could have heard a pin drop as the band weaved their way through The Night Will Always Win, The River, Puncture Repair and Dear Friends. It felt like there was a collective intake of breath, with no-one wanting to break the spell.
Oh except for one couple who quietly got engaged during the stunning Mirrorball. See, it's proof Elbow equals love.
Yes there were grumbles the first two albums were untouched - after all, this was the first chance many long-term fans had had to hear the band they have followed for more than a decade (album-wise; the band itself has been going for twice that).
It would have been a treat to hear the "Old Elbow", and the question was asked yesterday but, like the lads said, they know they've only got "big" recently and a trip down memory lane could ruin the moment for these latecomers.
And it's not like the Lifers were left disappointed; far from it. As the band dropped away on the night's closing track, and the band's biggest, One Day Like This, leaving an Auckland audience harmonising the line "One day like this a year would see me right" it was pure, shivers-down-your-spine magic.
It's the kind of thing that doesn't happen every day, but then that's falling in love for you.
Where: The Powerstation, Auckland
When: Wednesday, March 28
* Were you at the show? What did you think? Have your say below.
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