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Just Another Manic Wednesday - Sunday Mail, 6th October 2002

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MANIC STREET PREACHERS frontman James Dean Bradfield goes solo on Wednesday in front of just 250 fans at a secret gig in Scotland as part of the Up Close series of concerts. GAVIN PEARSON of Clyde 1 asked the king of Wales how he fancied his chancesgoing ten numbers with a crowd of Scots rock fans.

Q You've always gone down well in Scotland, so do you think being Welsh has given you a characteristic which has helped you appeal to us and we appeal to you?

A People often shy away from the truth but, when we play in Glasgow, it is very like Cardiff because they are both big weekend towns and people come from out of town and they just go ballistic. People are just much better value for money when they cometo Cardiff or Glasgow gigs because they come just to get *****d up basically. That just makes it easier for everybody. It makes for a better atmosphere and everybody is just so open to having a good time. I know it sounds simple and there's not muchscience in what I've said but it's the truth.

Q You're touring the UK on your greatest hits tour. How much of a highlight is it to be playing on December 4 In Scotland?

A I know it sounds convenient, but one of the best gigs of my life was played in the SECC. I'm not particularly known to say on stage "tonight is one of the best concerts I've ever played, thank you" but that is exactly what I did about four or fiveyears ago at the SECC on the Everything Must Go tour. It was just a complete bunch of mentalists going mad and we were feeding off the crowd that night. I'm feeling a bit scared because it is going to be hard to live up to that gig but I'm lookingforward to it, don't worry.

Q You're on your own for the Up Close gig in front of just 250 people on Wednesday. How experienced are you at playing live without the band?

AI'm used to playing a couple of acoustic songs on the radio, but I'll be doing something like eight or ten songs on my own in front of an audience. That means I've got to try to be charming and witty, I've got to slow down how I speak in between songsand be anecdotal. It's going to be a bit tough for me, so I'm going to ask Nick for a couple of back- up lines for my in-between song banter, definitely.

Q Is it a bit like having to do after-dinner speaking or something like that?

A Yeah, after-dinner speaking with someone having a religious fever on stage, speaking in tongues! I must get some elocution lessons before it, I think.

Q There's only going to be 250 people there. Does the number of people in the crowd make any difference?

A Oh yes, it's much easier playing in front of a crowd of 10,000 than 250, because you can just focus on a big wash of mops of hair. But, as soon as you get on stage in front of just 250 people, suddenly you spot just one pair of eyes and you fall topieces. I think I'm going to get someone to paint a spot on the back wall, so I can just look at that. In a crowd of 250, you start giving personalities to the faces in the crowd, so you feel a bit more vulnerable.

Q How will you feel five minutes before you take to the stage?

A I'll probably feel nervous as hell really, but I won't show it. It's what I was built for - I'll get through it.

Q And how do you feel once you're up there on stage?

A It's a bit like being in a fight, which you feel like you're going to win. Even when I am nervous, secretly I do look forward to it, because you feel like you're in a fight and you've just got to end up on top of it.

Q You're pretty much a world champion when it comes to the fight - with the experiences you've had. You've always won the fights, haven't you?

A If we're going to go with the analogy, we're not undisputed champions, but we probably hold one of the belts - WBO or something like that.

Q What was it like playing before nearly 60,000 people at the Millennium Stadium gig?

A Excuse me, it was 64,000! It broke the record for the biggest indoor concert in Europe, mate! Sorry, I had to get that in.

Q It must be something you're hugely proud of?

A It was cool to do that concert because it felt like we were coming back to the place where we had started. It was great to feel we had achieved everything we wanted to. Doing it in front of people we'd grown up with was cool.

Q Do you watch the video of that amazing gig much?

A No - I don't want to become frightened by my own dance moves. Once I start analysing, I become paralysed by fear.

Up Close comes courtesy of the Bank of Scotland and Scottish Radio Holdings stations including Clyde 1, Forth One and Radio Borders.

Album tracklist THE Manics' Greatest Hits album is called Forever Delayed but is more likely to be forever played.

The CD, which will be released on October 28, features 18 singles from their 13-year career.

Two tracks are new - Door To The River and There By The Grace Of God, due out as their next single on October 14.

It also includes three singles - Motown Junk, Suicide Is Painless and The Masses Against The Classes - which have never featured on an album before.

Plus their No.1 hits, of course - If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next and The Masses Against The Classes.