REVIEW: The Pogues
Oh what a difference a year makes.
Rewind to December 2006 and The Pogues' obligatory festive offering was something of a stifled affair.
The crowd wanted to get involved, but the restrictive seating of the MEN arena meant many a jig didn't surface.
The situation this time round was very different - and a whole lot better.
The venue for the Manchester leg of the Irish band's Christmas tour was the GMEX, or Manchester Central as it is now known - and it was perfect.
The expansive floor of the former railway station provided the perfect stomping ground for the thousands of fans.
As Shane McGowan stepped onto the stage with his entourage of musicians, the audience let out a mighty roar.
And it wasn't long before legs were flailing, beer was flying and everybody was jigging to their heart's content.
It was a bit rowdy - but isn't that what Pogues gig are all about?
The band worked its way through a succession of hits, occasionally without frontman McGowan who popped off stage every now and then for a 'comfort' break.
Of course he appeared to have had a tipple or two before he took to the stage, but a sober McGowan just wouldn't have felt right, right?
There were two encores; perhaps one too many but The Pogues knew what the crowd was waiting for.
It was, of course, The Fairytale of New York, the song which epitomises Christmas more than any other.
When the moment came, it was worth the wait. The song sounds so much better when performed live and capped off a pretty special night.
Support was provided by Billy Bragg.
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