Move Festival - Old Trafford Cricket Ground - 13.7.02
New Order, Doves, Echo & The Bunnymen plus guests

With the announcement just over a week previous that Shaun Ryder's solo project SWR will not be appearing due to delays recording the album in Australia there was a temporary blip before it was announced that Liverpool's greatest Echo & The Bunnymen will be invading the Manchester day of Move in a show of solidarity between the two Northern Cities. Even as recently as 2 years ago this simply wouldn't have been possible, but over the past 12 months relationships Liverpool and Manchester have come together against the one common enemy - those poxy Southern Cockney wide boys!!!

Not that it can help Salford's own Hanky Park who without playing a note get the thumbs down from a member of the audience tucked away in the stands. It's a simple chant of "Yer Shit" which after hearing the first two songs we universally nod in agreement and make our way to the bar. Returning for Alfie and Elbow you get the feeling that despite the fact they both have released critically acclaimed albums over the past 12 months they are not destined for sports stadiums. It would all make perfect sense if Elbow were sound tracking a rainy melancholic downpour, but with the Sun shining brightly and the beer flowing they don't half spoil the atmosphere.

At which point Echo & The Bunnymen with the chain smoking cool as f**k Ian McCulloch is brought into to raise the metaphorical roof off. Given a welcome befitting off homecoming heroes the liggers are out on display including Hayley and Fizz from Corrie, Bez, sporting chancer Carl Powers and simply anyone who's anyone in Manchester. Never has the psychedelic guitar grooves seemed more appropriate as they play a selection of old classics such as "Killing Moon" with their 90s comeback hit "Nothing Ever Lasts For Ever". It's a shame that Coldplay's Chris Martin doesn't make an appearance, of what has seemingly become the norm for Bunnymen gigs, but it's his loss at the end of the day.

When a band can reel out songs like "Pounding", "There Goes The Fear" and "Cedar Room" at the beginning of their set and still keep the crowd in the palm of their hands for the rest of the 60 minute set you know you're onto something special. Following a sold out show at the Academy just over 2 months ago, are really the men of the moment and while much of Manchester can at times fail under it's own self-importance - Doves have realized that simply being recognized around the Night & Day is not enough and hence have reached for the stars with an album which even on it's quieter moments such as "M62 Song" still crams more into it that the most bands do in one album. Even album tracks like "Words" and "Satellite" seem like old friends amongst a selection of singles including the aforementioned "There Goes The Fear" and "Catch The Sun".

After sold out shows in Finsbury Park last month New Order make their way home for yet another legendary Manchester show. If that last statement sounds resigned please forgive me as what I'm really trying to say is that New Order have such a back catalogue of classic electro pop songs that even a B-Side set would still seem like the best gig of the year. Deciding to pull out all the stops for this Old Trafford appearance before retreating back into the studio for the next album must have gave them a rediscovered energy with Barney in great spirits whooping and jumping around like an excited kid waiting for a ride at Alton Towers and Hooky seemingly holding his bass lower and lower with each appearance from the opening bars of "Crystal" were back to 24 Hour Party People excess. Even throughout the Joy Division songs such as "Transmission" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" there's a sense of remembering the good times rather than dwelling on the bad memories, which the 24 Hour Party People movie would have brought back with the disturbing scene of Ian Curtis hanging in the living room.

As soon as Barney introduces Keith Allen just before the encore with "we had to invite him up here because his last football record didn't do anything" we know that despite the fact that the English Football Team went home yet again the greatest ever football song is soon to come. "World In Motion" celebrates everything that is British - from it's multi-culturalism on the notorious John Barnes rap ,which Allen takes over tonight, to losers like Gazza. With the impassioned chant of "En-Ger-Land" it's bringing our national identity back to the people on the streets rather than in the hands of the right-wing neo-fascist parties. If "World In Motion" was all about our English Identity then "Blue Monday" has become all about our adopted Queen of British pop. Were talking about Kylie of course who gets the tribute paid back to here in the form of a sampled "Can't get You Outta My Head" forming the intro and outro to the New Order original.

And with no sense of "Regret" and some "True Faith" the band leave the stage closing the first and possibly the last ever Move Festival in Manchester. With attendance's for the festival reaching ,what at most was, 50% of the Old Trafford Venue after a seemingly endless campaign of magazine adverts and an award winning advert you get the feeling that if Move does return for 2003 it will be somewhat blander and more commercially viable ala V2002. With Robbie Williams selling out 3 dates last year and Oasis doing the same later this year it is with a little tear in your eye that you realize that perhaps those aforementioned artists are more relevant to the 21st Century than David Bowie or Joe Strummer. It's sad but true and the fact is you just can't argue with ticket sales at the end of the day and with that I bid you farewell and hope that if it does return next year the organizers offer a little compromise between artistic integrity and commercial viability.

Alex McCann

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