Review: Elbow, Dalby Forest

Guy Garvey of Elbow.  Picture David Harrison.
Guy Garvey of Elbow. Picture David Harrison.
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Having performed at Glastonbury as the special guests only 24 hours earlier, you would be forgiven for thinking in the lead-up to their Dalby gig that they could be suffering from a post festival hangover.

Indeed on the band’s arrival, led by vocalist Guy Garvey holding his pint to the 5,000 strong crowd, he did admit they felt ‘a bit ropey’ but a day in amongst the trees at Dalby had been what they needed, and they certainly delivered.

Having produced seven stellar albums, Elbow had a strong set list.

The latest album Little Fictions, released in February, was represented in the form of All Disco and Kindling in amongst the Elbow classics with Magnificent (She says) really living up to its title.

Garvey was typically enjoying a pint and speaking to the crowd about his love for trains and how bandmate and bassist Pete ended up with his hands around an old woman for 10 minutes.

Taking Dalby by storm, Garvey also took on the role of mediator after stopping the band’s performance of Head for Supplies to ask after a couple who appeared to have had an argument.

He encouraged them to make up before calling for love and peace and starting the song again - to the crowd’s delight. New York Morning, Sad Captains and The Birds were all performed marvellously ahead of the night’s highlight, One Day Like This. The concert, to my surprise, lasted around two hours which was the one of the longest gigs I have ever attended - not that anyone was complaining - as they just kept getting better as time went on. Elbow are best at their most lively and most fragile with Lippy Kids, the first half of the encore, which saw the entire crowd bellowing its halting chorus of “Build a rocket, boys!” As ever with this ragged, roguish band, it’s all about empathy.

The night was concluded with the renowned Grounds for Divorce which was a special way to end the evening under the stars and as usual, it received a euphoric reception as the band ended a rousing woodland weekend in style.