The Darkness at Manchester

by Jo (Pics by Lou!)

Manchester Evening News Arena – 18th February ’06

I couldn’t get to many of the gigs, and this is the only one where I’ll get to see the flying, the chariot, both supports, and Six. So after 4 and a half hours by train, and a lovely meeting with Fee and JWN, and Cora and Dori, I’m getting excited. Then my girls arrive, and it gets worse! *Bounce*

Due to a.. mixup.. with the hotel I end up getting changed in the Hard Rock Café toilets. Interesting.. but they are playing the whole of PTL so it could be worse! I can’t believe they make me ditch my biscuits on the way in to the MEN. no food? They’re not food! We had an interesting bit of ‘my mate fancies you’. I wonder how that’s going.. I want one of those red and black striped t shirts still, but I can’t afford one.

Oooo The Ark, all the way through. I rather liked them, actually, especially the wings .. it’s a slow start, but they do get the crowd singing and bouncing eventually. Not been to MEN before, it’s huge, and scarily empty to start off with. Still, it fills up nicely while we wait for other people to arrive. If I’d known my water would come in a pint glass I’d have waited..

Juliette and the Licks are on, and during that it’s time to head off to the front. We stop and hear the rest of the set, planning to move on in the interval. My word. Yes, lots of energy, and rocking, etc, but they do take themselves awfully seriously. Lighten up. Darkness fans don’t really want ‘serious’. We want fun, and laughter, and rock with it.

Off to the front then. I make it, thanks to some polite young men, and I’m at the barrier in plenty of time. OOO who’s that with a photo pass? Our own Lou. We had a quick chat until Arrival started. You know what? I love it when TD gig virgins are just overawed from the beginning, and that’s what happens when the chariot rises. You can hear the clunk of jaws dropping, then giggling. I guess that’s what TD wanted.

It’s another barnstorming gig. Better, I think, than Brighton, which others said was one of the best. Justin’s interaction with Rich is funny, endearing, and you just know they’re mates having a ball. On the other hand, the pratting about with Dan hasn’t been there. These two gigs, they’ve barely looked at each other, and I’ve never seen that before. Justin’s throat is obviously still playing him up and he apologises. I’m sure an expert could tell, but it did sound fine.. The crowd rocks hugely, and by the amount of people that come out, it’s rough, in the middle. I don’t just stand to one side cos of the view, you know.. Jus does his introducing Rich bit, which is fantastic. The funniest bit… Jus picking up a purple thong, finding out it’s for Rich, and seeing Rich choking on his bottle of water as Jus announces that. He’s very embarrassed.

I hate it when you know the gig’s going to end soon. All this superb, one off entertainment will soon be over and fade into memory, and it’s my last one of the tour.

That flying, though.. it’s worth waiting for, and who better to entrust it to than Justin? Rich and Justin starting from opposite sides though.. now that would be good, jamming (musically) in the middle. Oh yes.

What else can I say? Separate dressing rooms, apparently. We waited to wave the bus off, as the lads were travelling back to Birmingham for the next gig. We knew they were going to drive straight out, but we had gossiping to do to keep us busy. They stood at the one window that wasn’t blacked out, looked at us waving, and.. well, nothing, really.

Then the fucking taxi took me to the fucking wrong hotel.