by David Gimpel
“If you know the words, sing along. If you don’t, Sing Along” was lead man Guy Garvey’s mantra to the very enthusiastic crowd at Detroit’s St. Andrews Hall. After an 11-year absence from playing in Detroit, the Manchester band Elbow made their triumphant return to what probably felt like a gig in their hometown.
Elbow are on tour in support of their seventh studio album, Little Fictions. Guy told the crowd that when the band started out 27 years ago they were “really bad,” and to be playing in front of a still very passionate crowd was a dream come true. His words, and the band’s energy, proved that statement true for the evening.
There were several highlights throughout the night, leaving very little room for a bathroom break. They started the set off with “Any Day Now,” from Elbow’s debut record, and it immediately made the old school fans happy. The moody “Fly Boy Blue/Lunette” was flawless, and if you have ever heard that song on record, it’s hard to believe it can be pulled off live. The band did have help, they were accompanied by two violin players. It added so much to the performance. It was a nice warm touch, especially during the band’s latest single “Magnificent (She Says).”
Elbow constantly engaged with the crowd. In between songs, they would take a break to have a drink, trying to keep up with the crowd drink-for-drink. Guy seemed to be enjoying trying different beverages throughout the night. He even asked the bartender to bring him their best stout at one point, after he told the crowd to cheer for the bar staff.
To close the set, Guy had the crowd practice singing along with him, to prepare them for last few songs of the night. It worked. The crowd was warmed up for the biggest sing along of the night, the uplifting “One Day like This.” You may recall this song being played during the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony. I was next to a very enthused group who happen to be from England, as they screamed along to every word while locked in arms. (Editor’s note: Would you say they locked…elbows?)
Elbow had to “keep with tradition” and do an encore closing out the night with the ragger “Grounds for Divorce” which had the crowd going wild and clapping along to the infectious drum beat. Everyone in attendance left the venue in a euphoric mood, including me. They left me wanting to see them again…maybe I’ll fly to Manchester to see them next time!
Any Day Now
The Bones Of You
Fly Boy / Lunette
Head For Supplies
Magnificent (She Says)
My Sad Captains
My Sad Captains
New York Morning
One Day Like This
Grounds For Divorce