About 10 years ago I discovered a band from Wales called Manic Street Preachers. Never heard of them? You're not alone. Despite the fact that they sell out soccer stadiums in 10 minutes, they are relegated to playing clubs in the United States. Being a huge fan, this was good luck for me since I got to be upclose and personal in Detroit on October 2.
The long-suffering Brian has been hearing about this band for a long time now. He's listened to my theories on what happened to Richey Edwards and nods his head kindly when I go on and on about seeing them for the first time in the pages of some Brit magazine and the glory days of the Manics, that being the 1990s of course. Brian's suffering would continue as we made a trek to Detroit.
Despite a crazy-long detour in Dunkirk, Ohio the trip to Detroit was without incident. We were warned that Detroit is a war zone and told to try to blend. I was rather surprised to find Detroit a ghost town. Not that I was hoping to find gangs, but the vacated city was a reminder of just how hard industrial cities have been hit in recent years.
We parked for $2.00 in a hospital parking garage that was just a block or so from The Majestic. Once in line, Brian of course had to go to the bathroom. Is this a man thing? It seems like they always have to go to the bathroom when it's least convenient, kind of like children. After stopping at the McDonald's across the street from the club, we got back in line. A Welsh guy struck up a conversation with us and was surprised by the small size of the line.
The Majestic is an old music hall as well as a historical building. The ceiling was falling apart but it was definitely a beautiful building at one time. We waited for about an hour before the opening band, Bear Hands, took the stage. A guy standing near us from Nashville warned us that Bear Hands were horrible. He was not exaggerating. They were easily the worst band I have ever heard and no charisma what-so-ever.
After the opening band vacated, Manic Street Preachers' crew began setting their stage. I have always enjoyed watching stages get set for concerts, especially for bands I really love. I like seeing the guitars and thinking about all the times I have seen that same instrument in pictures or on TV. My biggest thrills came from seeing James' white guitar, Richey's god-like genius sash, and Nicky's boas.
Once Manic Street Preachers came on stage it was an hour and a half of amazing music. Nicky danced around and James charmed the audience with his commentary and thick Welsh accent. They sounded flawless. James Dean Bradfield is an incredible guitarist and he did not hold back tonight. And then there was Nicky. Ah, what can I say about him? I've loved him for so long and it was nice to see him 8 feet from me.
When the show was over we were walking back to our car. We passed the alley behind the club and I saw their tour bus and the gravitational pull was so strong that before I knew it I was standing in an alley in Detroit at midnight...along with about 50 other people.
James Dean Bradfield came out first wielding his own marker to sign autographs. He talked to every fan. And by talk I mean he had long drawn out conversations with everyone. He was extremely nice and genuinely touched by the fact that people were there to meet him. NOTE: The photo seen here is not my best look!
Nicky Wire emerged and I could not have been happier. And I made him laugh even when I told him I didn't need his autograph because I already had one. I don't think I've ever looked happier in a picture.
Sean Moore came out after a while to make a rare appearance. He signed autographs and posed for pictures but I did not approach him. I know that he is painfully shy so I spared him from having to smile in one more picture.
It was a happy night and the "long-suffering" Brian is listening to the Manics upstairs as I type this. I think he's been fully converted.