SSE Hydro, Glasgow
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Jimi Goodwin might be an experienced gigging hand, but he is not immune to on stage malfunctions. Thus, the former Dove singer's slot included a comical attempt to get a guitar strap sorted, but he still impressed, with the yearning Lonely At The Drop displaying a hefty sound.
Elbow themselves are well versed in arena performances, but they retain their charms even in large locations, most notably Guy Garvey's distinctive, world-weary vocal and his gregarious personality.
His banter, unlike many frontmen, was consistently entertaining and provided amusement, from a birthday shout-out to his niece to enquiring how any first dates in the crowd were getting on. He even managed to get plenty of blokes in the room to bellow out "I love", a testament to the group's combination of heart on the sleeve rawness and raise your pint camaraderie.
The core group were here augmented by strings and brass, but Garvey's voice remains the fulcrum. On The Night Will Always Win you could hear a pin drop, while a stripped-back, aching Great Expectations and a rough-hewn, rocking Grounds For Divorce contrasted nicely.
Yet while Elbow were accomplished throughout, there seemed something missing, particularly on their newest material from the recent The Take Off And Landing Of Everything album. Real Life (Angel) and New York Morning were solidly constructed, yet safe in style and sound, while set-opener Charge's earnest tone seemed to wallow in worthiness.
Most of the tunes progressed on predictable paths, from the over-wrought strings that arrived mid-song on The Blanket Of Night to Lippy Kids slowly meandering to a crescendo. There was nothing offensive about such competent song-writing, but there was a nagging sense Elbow are running on the spot just now.