Elbow - Reading 2005

Elbow marked the forthcoming release of ‘Leaders of the Free World’ with an appearance on the reading main stage on Friday afternoon. OK so their melodic, sometimes melancholy music might not be the most uplifting but they certainly know how to put on a great show, which is vital if you are going to win over a festival crowd that can be made up of a large number that wouldn’t pay to see one of your own gigs.

Guy Garvey is a funny bloke and one of the better front men for communicating well with his audience. In a set lasting just under an hour, a couple of things will live in the memory. Before the fans anthem ‘Newborn’ he asked if Jason and Emma were in the crowd. Obviously a good number of people claimed to be both, regardless of gender, but despite this we learnt that Jason had a very important question to ask during the next song. We assume it was of a more romantic nature than “did we really forget to bring toilet paper?” and can only wonder what the answer was, but frankly who could say no!

Later, just ahead of ‘Forget Myself’, the bands latest single, we were asked if we minded being in their new video. As my people were unavailable at that moment I agreed and joined the thousands of others in what can best be described as an inverse Mexican wave, where the people at the front of the stage would crouch down and back up again, with those behind copying straight after and thus the wave quickly moved to the back of the field. If it works well it should look excellent.

So the Elbow fan got to see them do a nice mixture of new and old tracks, ‘Not a Job’ and ‘Fugitive Motel’ along with ‘Newborn’ being stand out moments, and those casual by standers got a decent show to watch: everyone’s a winner!