I confess that I approached this show with a little trepidation since two of the three Silver/Lead era Wire shows in Scotland had been less than stellar principally due to a poor sound. New LP ‘Mind Hive’ though raised expectations, perhaps a dangerous place to be …
I needn’t have worried – this was definitely the best sounding Wire show I’ve been to and the setlist was … unexpected. But then, that’s pretty much always the way.
For the first time in what seems like decades, there were relatively few songs played from the new album – just five. OK, it’ s still more than half the new record, particularly since the 8 minute ‘Hung’ was one of those played, but the relative scarcity of new songs allowed the band to raid the 70s and 80s eras to a far greater extent than normal.
Afterwards we joked about it being a greatest hits set – but in fact there (still) weren’t many of the actual hits played. The big exception was the rarely played, yet joyously received ‘Outdoor Miner’ which in typically perverse Wire fashion appeared as the first encore. Exactly where you would have expected it from any other band.
We also had a number of deep dives with no fewer than five B-sides in the set (although admittedly calling ‘Ex Lion Tamer’ a B-side is a little bit of a stretch even if it’s technically true).
It made for a fascinating set, particularly as the 80s stuff was inevitably recast to fit the two guitars/bass/drums setup. So the opening song was a slow take on ‘The Offer’ which came as close to a solo acoustic Wire number as you’ll ever get with Colin’s vocals and strummed guitar only receiving mild backing from the rest of the band.
There were two songs from ‘Manscape’ with ‘Morning Bell’ filling the gap for the slower ‘Mind Hive’ songs omitted.
Inevitably though it was the 70s stuff though that really ignited the audience – hearing the likes of ‘Ex Lion Tamer’, ‘I Should Have Known Better’ and ‘French Film Blurred’ was thrilling.
Best of the lot though might have just been the noise attack of ‘Former Airline’ in the encore.
The show was also helped by the fact that Colin seemed in a particularly good mood with a lot of smiles and interaction with the audience.
Support came from a spoken word set from Graham Duff reading from his book ‘Foreground Music’. Very entertaining, switching from recollections of a Cliff Richard gospel gig to the infamous Joy Division riot show it led to the purchase of the book afterwards,
All in all a satisfying outing.
Snaps from the show: