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Manchester Union Gig Review

April 3rd 2001

Setlist(from memory)
My Kind of Scene
Up & Down & Back Again
These Days
Like A Dog
Waiting for The Sun
The day You Come
Pick You Up
Donít wanna Be Left Out
My Happiness

Whatever Makes You Happy

I'm an English Powderfinger fan introduced to the band on a visit to Australia last year, so its been a big buzz being able to see them twice in the UK in the last year. Last time in Nottingham the venue was small & this was a similar experience.
The gig took place in The Students Union venue, which is essentially a big Pub Venue, (around 500 capacity). The Crowd was around 70% Aussie at least(which seemed to be getting to Bernie a little during the gig, he said something along the lines of "we really appreciate the Australian fans turning up but it'd be nice to play to some English people for a change, thatís why we're here"
Again Powderfinger were exceptional, even better than last time, after an average support band (13:13 who were basically the manic street preachers without the songs, still developing) I got an amazing position to watch them, literally right in front of Bernie (to give you an idea he had trouble reading the setlist before My Happiness & asked me what was next).
They opened with My Kind of Scene, which is even more understatedly anthemic live than on CD, an exceptional opening, followed with stirring versions of Up & Down & Back Again & These Days & an ever- incendiary Belter. By this time anyone amongst the crowd who wasnít already a devout fan had been won over (my mate who I'd persuaded to come on the basis of hearing ON5 a couple of times was impressed) Even Like A Dog, probably my least favourite Powderfinger song, has added bite after an opening comment of "This is avout the australian government, who are a bunch of fuckers" ending with an "if you like that song, write home to your parents & tell them to stop voting for the liberal government" (N.B. Bernie, there were some English fans, could you explain the situation next time). It is followed by a chilled ON5, before they kick back into Waiting for The Sun, which is great, working surprisingly well as a mid set song.
The Day You Come then gets the reaction which can be expected of such an evocative song, before being eclipsed totally by Pick You Up introduced as "an old song of ours which you might not know, but we think you'll really like it". Donít Wanna Be Left Out works into a mid-song apex, (the guys jammed mid song a few times, which they didnít do last time I saw them). They end the set with My Happiness, (which they'll release as the first UK single) & a climatic Thrilloilogy, before encoring with an exquisitely stripped down Whatever Makes You Happy before closing on a high with Passenger.
Overall an excellent gig, even better than last time, in the past year Iv'e seen Bob Dylan, the Who, Radiohead, Flc, Frank Black, Muse, Coldplay, & Eric Clapton amongst many others, & Powderfinger can compete with the best of them, only a couple of minor complaints (more suggestions for next time than complaints.)

1. Not enough old songs, or more to the point, not enough variance in the old songs included in the set, it may just be my luck, but the setlist, great as it was, was almost identical to last time I saw them, where was Already Gone, Hindley St, etc.

2. If Bern's so keen to attract English fans, it might be a good idea to make some comments geared towards us, as opposed to domestic Australian disputes.

Still, overall these were very minor gripes with a band that definitely deserve more exposure here than they get right now. Can't wait until they come again!

Tom Lee