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stretched and turned the existing orchestrations into

spellbinding flights of fancy.

IT isn’t often you find yourself with a lump in your throat and feeling a bit overcome while watching a

band, but Elbow have managed it twice now.

The first time was at Cheshire’s Delamere Forest last year when frontman Guy Garvey obligingly read out

a note from an audience member . . . asking his girlfriend to marry him.

The second was at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall where, as part of the Manchester International

Festival, the Bury band unveiled their collaboration with the Halle orchestra and composer Joe Duddell.

“Lovely” was the word Guy Garvey used to describe the experience of playing with the orchestra and the

Halle youth choir, the best backing group a band could ever hope for, and he was spot on.

At times, Garvey looked endearingly overwhelmed by pride in the whole thing and by the crowd’s

massive reaction to every song. Sadly it probably isn’t so often that the Bridgewater Hall hears such a

thunder of applause.

The Halle are, of course, much more than just a backing band, they are one of the finest orchestras in the

country and under conductor and composer Duddell’s gentle guidance they transformed Elbow’s tales of

everyday life into hymns and anthems.

The amount of love directed at the band was astonishing, an almost tangible presence in the hall, and still

causes the heart to quiver more than 24 hours later. Mirrorball caused genuine goosebumps and the

raucous thump of Grounds For Divorce showcased the band — and the orchestra — at their most


It was once written somewhere that Elbow are a band who believe in dynamics, bursting through the

delicate strings of Starlings with huge stabs of brass, which was all the more dramatic for having the full

power of Britain’s oldest professional orchestra behind it.

Weather To Fly and Newborn were transformed by Duddell, who had stretched and turned the existing

orchestrations into spellbinding flights of fancy.

By the time they reached the encore — of course it was One Day Like This — the band looked ready to

burst with pride, and who can blame them.

And while a very few of the more staid members of the audience looked bemused when the crowd were

on their feet, waving arms and singing along with the choir, for the rest there was a sense that here was

something very, very lovely indeed.

Kat Dibbits, Bury Times