My Writings: Manic Street Preachers Concerts I've Been To

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Journal From My Trip To See MSP In Toronto, September 1999.
"Five years and 24 hours, (more or less), to see 'em."

Dates: Friday - Sunday, 10 - 12 September, 1999
Starting Point: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Travel Destination: Toronto, Canada

Cleveland, Ohio (land of Drew Carey and the stinkin' Browns football team) bus station

(11:53 PM)
I'm at the scary bus station. I'll be here until 1:45 AM-ish. I need sleep. The bus ride here from Pittsburgh had: (1.) a gum cracker who was so loud and incessant, I was ready to slap her into next week, (2.) a baby who had crying spells, (3.) Alan - a 3-year-old who never shut up, or sat down, and was given to occasional shrieks, (4.) songs running through my head from the two CDs I played before I left, (5.) too much excitement in me. I couldn't begin to drop off.
I'm going to see the Manics. Finally. Apparently. I'm still expecting something to happen, the show to be cancelled. This is the third time this summer/fall trying to go to a show - I won't trust anything until I'm in the venue, and the boys (as Catherine calls them) come out on stage. Will Nicky be beautiful? A dress perhaps? I'm too excited!!!
But what about the empty spot left on stage? Where Richey would be. Should I try to stand in front of Nicky? Or the empty spot Richey left? I'm torn. As torn as I am between old Manics and new.
Geez. Tomorrow night at this time I'll probably be in awe of the spectacular event I've just been to. I'll probably be trying to meet Nicky. I might be trying not to cry for the beauty of Richey that is not around anymore.
Another 1½ hours before the next bus leaves. Then - perchance to dream?
(12:14 AM)

Erie, PA (or so) - rest stop

(3:57 AM)
Back in PA! Geez, six and a half hours on the road, and I haven't completely left the state! Greyhound scheduling - what a trip! (That would make an interesting slogan for the company, huh?)
At this time of morning, with so much more traveling to do, (3½ hours or so), it's a little hard to remember why I'm doing this, and to keep enthused about doing it.
(4:03 AM)

US/Canada border

(6:29 AM)
Whew - they let me into Canada! Actually, I just handed the women three pieces of ID and she said okay, didn't even look at anything.
We're running terribly late. Lots of trucks coming over the Peace Bridge.
A group of us running from our bus from Cleveland to this one, in Buffalo. No time to say good-bye to my friend I met in Cleveland - Jason Krupp (I think that's the name.) From Pensacola, Florida, en route to Ithaca, NY. He was funny, charming, sounded gay (although he isn't), looked a bit like Richey (obviously, he isn't that either). Good-bye, friend!
I've had some sleep, like a few hours at most. Need more.
But I've re-discovered my excitement for this trip. Hey, folks, I went to Canada, out of the US! Just to see... now what was their name? Oh yeah - Manic Street Preachers!!!
I just hope they've made it through customs as well as I did!
(6:38 AM)

Toronto, Canada - R Hotel bar

(2:48 PM)
I am an extremely happy person! I have a room for the night! I tried several places - no room at the inn. Or hostel, or hotel, etc... But then, I got directed to an el-cheapo-special hotel on Queen Street. A room for me! Okay, so the bathroom is communal, there was food left on an old, ugly, beat-up dresser. And it doesn't seem like the safest hotel, although the neighbourhood isn't bad. I don't think. I'll find out later tonight, eh? (When in Canada, speak as the Canadians do!)
And I have a large Diet Coke in front of me! And a nice breeze at my back.
And, best of all, the ticket! The Manics ticket! The whole reason for this odyssey in this first place. It's the prettiest thing - it says, "Manic Street Preachers". I can't believe I got the dear thing without selling Grandma or my first-born.
I am a very, extremely happy person!
I think I'm about to cry. I almost cried when I first got my ticket in my grubby paw.
Now I just have to figure out how to get to the venue. Boys, here I come!!!
(3:02 PM)

R Hotel

(8:44 PM)
The time has arrived. I'm ready to walk out the door. Why am I as nervous as if I were playing?
(8:45 PM)

R Hotel

(2:45 AM)
Okay, it's over. I've seen them, my Manics-concert-virginity is lost. (And I really do feel something like that.) But, you ask, how was it?
Well, first let me say I am deeply upset and sorry that I won't be seeing another show this tour. As a concert, the guys were fantastic! I never heard that James announces every song, (at least, he did that tonight.) I ended up in front of the right-hand speaker stacks, (back a little, though), closest to Nicky. I guess that's best, I got to watch him almost all show. Very worthwhile watching. Interesting thing - he was mouthing a lot of the lyrics he wasn't joining James in singing.
By the way, it may seem like I'm being a Nicky Wire fan. Yes, but only because: (1.) he's the most interesting of who's left, (2.) he's by far, the best looking of who's left, and (3.) and he was closest to dear Richey. Anyway, I'd love another chance to see the Manics. Given their record in playing America, it may be awhile, before I can.
Now for the other side of tonight. I was very aware of the empty spot on stage where Richey should have been. I noticed that James and Nicky stayed out of that area, except once when James ventured over there. Actually, I also noticed, it's not completely empty. That "friend", as James called him, the keyboardist they add on tour, in a way, fills part of that end of the stage. Even if he is in the background. That end's not completely empty. Sort of symbolic, don't you think?
I made a point of watching Nicky during the really Richey-laden songs. Stuff Richey wrote from EMG or THB, or stuff Nicky wrote about Richey. I think I noticed a mellower Nicky during some of the stuff.
(c. 3:00 AM)

(5:08 AM)
[I'm back. I needed a nap after two pints of Boddington's.]
I also was reminded of Richey, when Nicky did all those kicks and stuff. I was reminded of pictures I've seen, where the two of them - Nicky and Richey - are doing that behind James.
So, my first experience at a Manics concert, was very mixed. It took until 2/3 the way though, before I could really enjoy the show, for just being a present-day happening
Hey, I think I still feel confused about what to think about this show. I didn't know whether to cry out of sadness, cry out of happiness, or smile insanely, right after. And I still don't know entirely which; a bit of each, probably.
Oh, I did meet two lovely people at the bus stop on the way to the concert - Michelle and Karen, I think their names were. We ended up taking a cab to the venue, and back, and hung around together for the show. Maybe we'll meet again, next Manics tour. Stay beautiful, ladies.
I'm a bit disappointed I couldn't meet the guys. Maybe next time.
Does anyone know why Nicky seems to have taken up jumping rope, like at the Brit awards, or tonight at the end of the show? Of course, with all his jumps and stuff during concerts, he sure can jump rope a bit. Better than I ever could.
One last thought - has anyone else noticed that Nicky looked, at times, like he was in his own "little empire?" If I didn't know better, I'd have sworn that man was drunk or high. Perhaps, just drunk/high on life, or some such lovely thing.
(5:39 AM)

Pittsburgh, PA, USA - Carnegie Library - 13 September, 2000

(12:07 PM)
Well, it's been a year since that journey. In typing my journal onto my website, I've been able to re-live the experience a bit. That's what journals do, of course. I'm glad I wrote it as it was all happening. I'm not too sure about those last two entries, however. I really had had a couple of pints, (British sized, not the smaller American!), after the show, and I was feeling them a bit. Plus, I never got any real sleep until I got home.
I wrote my "proper" review of the concert, on the bus trip home on Sunday. That's the one on this site, and the Manics' official site. I guess it might seem a little contradictory compared to my journal, but well, I did have conflicting feelings at the show!
I brought back some stuff from the trip, some unexpected. I bought the latest Catatonia CD, Equally Cursed and Blessed, at a ridiculously cheap price, because the Canadian dollar is so poor against the US dollar. I also brought back some British candy, which is available all over Toronto. I bought Mars bars. I didn't know that I was also bringing back to the US, a stowaway - a Canadian virus bug. But I found out a week after I got home. I was sick for two weeks! I also developed a case of prickly heat, on my chest. Not fun! Ah, the adventure of traveling!
Well, that's all I wanted to add. I can't wait until the Manics finally come back to this side of the pond! I think it's going to be a long wait, though. Come back, boys! Not all Americans are stupid enough not to know you, or not to love you!
(12:25 PM)

Copyright © 1999, 2000 Vivian Campbell. All rights reserved.

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