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Manics Look To Be Word Perfect On Big Night - The Western Mail, 31st December 1999

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Title: Manics Look To Be Word Perfect On Big Night
Publication: The Western Mail
Date: Friday 31st December 1999
Writer: Darren Waters
Photos: David Hurst


Ten years ago they played to two people, tonight it's a 57,000 sell-out.

Two of the Manic Street Preachers sauntered down the players' tunnel and into the pitchless Millennium Stadium yesterday with just a touch of nerves ahead of tonight's concert. The third Manic, Sean Moore, presumably felt he has done too much preaching and left all the talking to the more loquacious members, Nicky Wire and James Dean Bradfield.

It is the biggest concert in the band's history, the biggest concert in Wales' history and is being held on a day of historical importance. It's not surprising that the band have some worries ahead of the event.

"I'm worried about forgetting the words," said lead singer James Dean Bradfield.

"You've never worried about that before," bassist and lyricist Wire said to him. "But this time I am," said Bradfield, reflecting the importance of the sell-out gig to the band from Blackwood, who in 10 years have gone from playing pubs to selling out stadiums.

Wire said, "Ten years ago we did a gig in Cardiff to two people. Today we're playing in front of 57,000 people. I think that shows how far we've come, how far we have grown and how much Wales has grown."

The Manic Millennium concert forms the centre piece of Wales' New Year's Eve celebrations and caps off a decade of excellence from the most successful band ever to come out of Wales. The stadium, which resounded to the roar of rugby crowds during the World Cup, is now ready for its next challenge - to host the largest indoor concert ever held in Britain.

It has been transformed with the pitch long since removed and metal struts put into place between the first and second tiers because of concerns over safety.

"All this jumping around might knock the stadium down. Try and keep calm," joked Wire to the assembled media.

The three friends have survived press criticism, public indifference, the death of a manager, and the disappearance of key member Richey Edwards, and gone on to become of the most important bands in Britain and Europe.

Tonight's line-up includes sets from the Super Furry Animals, one of Britain's most creative bands, Feeder, tipped by many as the next Stereophonics and Shack.

The Manics will play for around two-and-a-half hours with a gap in the middle, to allow for the small matter of the millennium.

"It is pretty much a greatest hits package plus a few surprises," said Wire.

"James will play an acoustic set after midnight and then we finish with the bigger hits."

"Our very early hardcore fans, there is something for them. And those who have grown with us from Everything Must Go, who expect a more lush sound, there is something for them also.

"It is a concert not just for us." The band said they did not feel the concert marked a pinnacle in their career.

"We still have more ambition than any other band around, whether it is in writing songs or in selling records." said Bradfield