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Manics: Millennium Gig Latest - Melody Maker, 16th October 1999

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Title: Manics: Millennium Gig Latest
Publication: Melody Maker
Date: Saturday 16th October 1999
Photos: Stephen Sweet


Manic Street Preachers have already sold tens of thousands of tickets for their Millennium gig. And Nicky Wire has even managed to get into a row with Millennium gig rival, Cream.

The Manics' 54,000-capacity gig at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium was announced at a press conference last Tuesday (October 5). But there was some surprise that the announcement, billed as 'their boldest move yet", was simply about the gig, since press and public had known about it for weeks. Even the band commented on the build-up and the accompanying speculation, joking about rumours that they were expected to announce a split.

Some 10,000 tickets - priced just £30 - were sold within a few hours of going on sale last Wednesday (October 6). As The Maker went to press, they were still selling very quickly. The Manics confirmed that "Masses Against The Classes", their new single released in the first week of January, will be their only release of 2000. And there will be no gigs next year, either.

Nicky Wire also provoked a row with club giant Cream, who are staging a Millennium gig in Liverpool with Stereophonics, Lightning Seeds, Orbital and Space. As Nicky was more than happy to point out, the Manics are charging £30 while Cream is £99.

James Barton, founder member of Cream, commented: "We're very unhappy that Nicky has chosen the opportunity to launch his own show by criticising other people's shows."

He added: "I think the Manic Street Preachers is competitively priced. I would not pay more than £30 to see the Manic Street Preachers myself. We have got 14 hours of music and a DJ line-up to kill for."

Non-Welsh fans at the launch of the concert were worried about getting to the gig.

Vickki Bradfield, 22, from Milton Keynes, said: "l will try to get there, but it's going to be really difficult for me to get to Cardiff on New Year's. Because I've been a fan for eight and a half years, I prefer them in a smaller venue. When I saw them support the Stone Roses, I couldn't see a thing."

"I just wish the Manics would do a mini-tour at the end of the year. There are going to be people all over the country who can't get to this gig. If their next album isn't out until 2001 they're not going to be touring until then."

Sammy Jones, 25, also from Milton Keynes, said: "It will be a momentous occasion. I think it will just be like a big pub." The only real shock of the day was the length of Nicky Wire's hair.

The Maker cornered him after the press conference to ask if he was growing it for the Millennium. Wire told us: "I don't know. It has grown particularly long. The 'Friends' comparisons have started in the last month. I think that was in Melody Maker, actually."

Wire also gave us his thoughts about the Kula Shaker split: "I was quite happy about that," he said. "I think everyone was hoping we would split up today."

But when The Maker asked him about support bands, he said: "I can't say." He also told "The Big Breakfast' that he plans to wear a "Diana Ross outfit' for the post-midnight part of the concert, but that he will have to lose a few pounds!

Supports are unconfirmed, but one band who are being tipped for a prominent support slot are Feeder. A spokesman for the event confirmed that the Manics will play two sets - one before midnight and one after.

Negotiations are also taking place to televise the gig in 50 countries.

The Maker also caught up with James Dean Bradfield to ask him about the recent American dates.

Bradfield commented: "Everybody's got this notion that we have this desperate longing to break America. We haven't We're just going over there to sell a couple of records." We also asked him if the Manics could support Oasis again when they tour the USA next year.

"I dunno," said Bradfield. '"It depends on what kind of form they would be on really. When we supported them the first time, they were probably the best rock'n'roll band of the last 10 years. If they were on that kind of form again. Not next year, though. I mean, I'd do it if they had that dangerous, kind of like falling-apart-at-the-seams edge to them again. It's great watching somebody else falling apart, rather than us."

Press Conference Highlights

After V99 and T in the Park how will the Millennium gig be different?

Nicky: "Well' it's our headline gig, it's the biggest headline gig we've ever done. We've been 'together 10 years now and, you know, we're the longest soap opera in rock 'n' roll. It's a perfect way to see out 10 years; it's a perfect way to see out the miliennium... It's the only 20 minutes we will play in the year 2000, or 40 minutes or whatever it is... We'll put everything into it, and it will be the best show we've ever done."

Are you going to split?

James: "No, unfortunately we're not. It's just going to be the last gig we do for a long time and we're going to start on the next record next year. We've been touring for 14 months and I've been touring for 10 years as well, so we're just going to take a long time off. Not splitting up at all."
Nicky: "We certainly didn't split up in Belgium [at the Werchter Festival]. If anybody thought we'd ever split up in Belgium, you are completely wrong."

Were you considering splitting up?

James: "Not at all. I wasn't. Nick thinks about it every other week, only when he gets homesick; I think. But I make him carry on, basically."
Nicky: "This gig, undoubtedly, will be a peak of our career. It will be hard to top it. We've still got a few records left in us yet, I think."

Are you going to release "Masses Against the Classes" the week åfter the Millennium concert?
James: "Yeah, we're going to release it in January. We're going to finish mixing it next week."

Is it very different?
James: "It's just hard - hard and cool. What people consider not to be on the last album, I suppose."
Nicky: "It's a lot faster than the last record, for sure. It's not the sort of record that's going to get loads of airplay. We're not going to do a video for it, we're not going to do loads of packaging or anything like that. We're just going to bung it out like The Clash used to do, really. "

When are you expecting to release the next album?
James: "It won't be released until 2001."

Are you going back to your old style?
James: "Umh..."
Nicky: "Unsuccessful, yeah"
James: "Yeah, were thinking of going back to 'The Holy Bible' and just being adored and being poor."

Can you tell us any of the acts who are going to be supporting you?

Nicky: "Unfortunately, we can't, at the moment. We have got a bill together, there will be at least five bands on, plus various other activities. Hopefully we're going to show lots ot bits of our favourite films and stuff, lots of celebrity guest spots. There will be DJs. It will be like a gigantic pub really, it will probably be the cheapest pub in Britain. The ticket price is only £30."
"If you look at all the other Millennium events. I mean, there's one in Cardiff and it's £100 for Cream to watch a few people play records. And there's one up in Sheffield which is £100 and Cream in Liverpool is £100 [although at press time Cream claimed theirs was only £75], so we've done everything possible to keep this ticket price as low as we can."
James: "It's £30 to get in The Mason's Arms in Blackwood, you know." (laughter)
Nicky: "The prices for drinks will just be normal prices. Hopefully, there'll be lots of Ribena for me."

Is right that you've each had your names carved into a stadium brick?
Nicky: "We're definitely having one stone for Richey as well, which I think is going to be a nice touch... Whether he'd like it or not, I don't know, but it's going to be nice that he will be on there as well, because it's for the band."

Do you think the Millennium is worth celebrating?
Nicky: "When we were young, me, James and Sean, and Richey used to have the most miserable New Years ever. We were the four saddos who couldn't get a snog off a girl for all the money in the world. It was only when we formed a band that we managed to get over that. Hopefully this will be the best one that we've ever had."

Do you expect it to sell out?
Nicky: "We never take anything for granted at all. That's why we've worked so hard over the past 10 years, If we sell it out then we break even and we're perfectly happy for that...Hopefully, James won't lose his voice and everything will go smoothly."

Were you disappointed about the jostling for the billing before this was announced?
Nicky: "We've been planning this gig for two-and-a-half years - It was always something we wanted to do. Stereophonics have played Morfa, Catatonia have done Margam park and this was always about us, really. To keep the ticket price as cheap as it is, it had to be like that. You know, we can't afford to pay any bands...That's not true, by the way!"