Three gigs you could describe as ‘doorstep shows’ for me, being as they were played just a mile or so from my front door here in deepest darkest Newport…
Newport Centre - 4th October 2007
Support: Ra Ra Riot, The Kissaway Trail
Also present: MrsRobster
This was the tour for Editors’ second album ‘An End Has A Start’, their best record in my opinion. As well as having some extraordinarily good songs, Editors proved what an amazing live band they could be too, especially with frontman Tom Smith at the helm. In just a single song, he would bounce and leap between lead vocals, piano and frenzied guitar thrashing. At times he resembled a Tasmanian Devil; it was exhausting just watching the guy. The band was excellent and the songs really lent themselves to the live setting. Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors in particular sounded mightily epic. I just can't believe they've fallen from grace so dramatically over the next two records - it's like a different band. I prefer to remember them like this.
- Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors [live] – Editors (from ‘Live at Glastonbury 2008’)
Newport Centre - 12th March 2009
Support: The Acorns
Also present: MrsRobster
Some people have told me they could never go to an Elbow gig as it would be “soooo booooring.” People who have seen Elbow live will tell you they are magnificent, enchanting and incredibly uplifting. I’m in the latter camp. I’ve always liked Elbow, but until I saw them live, I thought they were primarily a studio band. I was wrong. In Guy Garvey you have a frontman whose humility, warmth and genuine affection for his bandmates and fans can do nothing but endear you to him. It’s such a rarity in music today, and the overall feel of the show was as if you had invited the band round to your house to play in your living room for you and a few mates. Even in a mid-sized space such as the Newport Leisure Centre, it was as intimate a show as I’ve experienced. And there was room for some of Guy Garvey's trademark wit: "As you can tell from my Olympian physique I'm no stranger to buildings such as this." MrsRobster cites this as one of her favourite shows of all time.
- Grounds For Divorce [live] – Elbow (from ‘The Seldom Seen Kid Live at Abbey Road with the BBC Concert Orchestra’)
#45: Manic Street Preachers
Newport Centre - 13th Sep 2013
Also present: a very reluctant MrsRobster
The first time I saw the Manics was in Torquay in July 1993. They were fucking awful, all make-up and glam-punk posturing, little in the way of substance. They turned me a few years later, surprisingly as a support act for Oasis at Knebworth. It was at that point I ‘got it’ and became a fan, though I never saw them live again, until… Ffwd 17 years: playing to a home crowd in Newport, the Manics are absolutely in their element. This didn’t have the feel of yet another rock & roll concert, this was like having some old friends round for a chat about the rugby and a sing-song, except these old friends were bonafide rock stars. “In the 70s you had albums like ‘UFO Live at the Budokan’,” observed James Dean Bradfield, as a reminder of how rock bands made a statement of how huge they were with the release of a live album recorded in a mega-sized venue. “Ours would be ‘Manic Street Preachers Live at Newport Leisure Centre’.” Oh, and it’s worth noting Richard Hawley dropped by to do a tune as well; the icing on the cake as it were.
- Anthem For A Lost Cause [live] – Manic Street Preachers (recorded live on ‘Later... With Jools Holland’)
 MrsRobster is a big fan of Public Service Broadcasting, but most certainly not the Manics. She agreed to come to this show because PSB were the advertised support, even billed on the tickets. Two days before the show, I noticed they were on a festival bill for the same date. I emailed the band to see what was going on and I got a personal email back from J. Willgoose Esq. himself admitting that there seemed to be a balls up on the promoter's part; they were not supporting the Manics until the second leg of the tour. I broke the news to MrsRobster - she was not best pleased. The band that actually supported, Telegram, were never going to make up for things, but bless her, MrsRobster endured the Manics show regardless, keeping herself amused with a good session of people watching. She enjoyed that!