Concert Review: Suede, Manic Street Preachers, November 24, Massey Hall


I’m not sure if there was an official name given to the Manic Street Preachers/Suede co-headlining tour which just wrapped up with its final date last night at Massey Hall, but based on the night’s performance from Suede, might I suggest the Brett Anderson Tries His Best To Catch COVID tour?

I kid, of course, but it certainly seemed like the Suede frontman has moved well past the need for social distancing. He made that fairly clear as he ventured out into the crowd multiple times throughout the evening to get up close and personal, encouraging the audience to get out of their seats and move up to the front, hugging various audience members, and encouraging mass singalongs. I’m not sure if he went extra hard tonight because it was the last night of the tour (and possibly, he hinted, their last North American show for a good while, or maybe ever?) or if every night has been like this, but either way, Anderson is one of the most engaging rock frontmen around.

With the energy Suede brought to the table, some bands might have been daunted to follow that, but luckily, Manic Street Preachers are not just “some band.” While James Dean Bradfield may not be quite as animated as Anderson is on stage, he’s certainly no slouch himself and he and the rest of the band proved as much as they ran through a set full of classic songs from throughout their career alongside some well placed covers in the form of “Suicide Is Painless” and The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary.” Like Suede, The Manics also seemed inspired to make the last night of their tour a memorable one.

Bassist Nicky Wire noted that though they’ve played several Toronto venues over the years, including the Phoenix, the Danforth and “the Opera House of Toronto”, playing Massey Hall this time around was “the pinnacle.” Bradfield also noted earlier in the set that they were glad to be gracing the same stage that Neil Young, Rush and, yes, Suede, had played before them and later paid homage to Rush by playing a little snippet from the intro to “Closer To The Heart” at one point.

Closing things out with “A Design For Life”, Manic Street Preachers ended off a great night of music from two bands who’ve been at it for a while and have garnered dedicated fanbases over the years (I did notice a lot of grey hair in that crowd). And though the Manics noted that, unlike Anderson, they wouldn’t be giving out any group hugs, both they and Suede put on amazing performances that definitely had people going home happy. And hopefully didn’t have a certain Suede frontman going home sick.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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