The Gaslight Anthem – Manchester Apollo Review 25/07/18

Ten years ago, New Jersey rockers; The Gaslight Anthem released their seminal album; The ’59 Sound and after being on hiatus since 2015, the band decided to hit the road for a string of shows to celebrate the anniversary of its release by playing the album in its entirety.

Since I heard this album for the first time, it has been a firm favourite of mine and still remains one of my favourite albums to this day so when this tour was announced, it was one I had to attend. Packed into a roasting Apollo theatre in Manchester, 3500 fans eagerly anticipate the band they have come to see. The support for the evening came from Matthew Ryan and Dave Hause, I unfortunately missed Matthew Ryan, but I was able to catch Dave Hause’s performance which was superb. Normally he plays his music with a full band which has a happy rock vibe, but last night he was playing his songs acoustically with his brother on a backing piano, this time giving his songs such as With You and Time Will Tell a much more poignant feeling than usual.

At exactly 9:15, The Gaslight Anthem take to the stage to rapturous applause from the crowd as they start their mammoth 25 song set with 2012 hit; Handwritten from the album of the same name, this is followed by three more songs, including a surprising addition of Mae (Also from Handwritten) this warms the crowd up before they play the famous album and as soon as they start the opening chords to Great Expectations, the crowd are raring and ready to go, hanging on to every word frontman Brian Fallon is singing and singing it back almost as loud as the band were playing.

Other songs that were particular highlights of the album play through were Old White Lincoln, Miles Davis and the Cool, Meet Me By The Rivers Edge and The Backseat that take everyone back in time to when the album was first released, it was clear how much these songs mean to the crowd. However, the best song of the night was easily the song from the album title; The ’59 Sound itself. Again the crowd was on point for this song but it was also the loudest they were during the gig in goose-bump inducing fashion.

Once the band finish playing through the album, there is little let up. The band could easily have called it a night at 16 songs but instead, they soldier on through more of their back catalogue which consists mostly of songs from Handwritten which goes down almost as well as The ’59 Sound, much to the enjoyment of fans as the dancing, the drinking and the singing continues.

While this was a gig celebrating the anniversary of The ’59 Sound, it did have a feel that this could be the last time we see them performing, particularly as the band closed on American Slang, frontman Brian Fallon seemed to be taking in an extra long look at the crowd with a smile on his face. Recently, Fallon stated that he feels that he has said everything he has to say with the band. If that’s the case, then this short tour has the makings of a perfect swan song in it.