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Yellowcard - O2 Ritz, Manchester 14.12.2016

My evening starts with some incredibly bad traffic made up of attendees for the Arena show down the road and a 7 car pile up on the motorway. These unfortunate series of events result in a late arrival from myself and in turn mean I completely miss the set from tonight's openers, Kenneths, which as annoying as it is can't be helped. So instead I get myself prepped and ready for NORMANDIE.

Hailing from Sweden, they waste no time taking to the stage and tearing up the Ritz, their energy is infectious. Their songs strong and full of life, the vocals from lead singer Philip Strand are powerful and packed with raw emotion, his strong Swedish accent only made apparent when he engages with the audience between songs. It quickly becomes apparent the band are incredibly thankful to be a part of this tour. As noted by Strand, their previous tour of the UK saw them play a much much smaller venue with a plumbing issue that resulted in sewage dripping down onto the drum kit while they were playing... nice! But tonight they play to a near sold of venue with a loving crowd welcoming the Swedes once again to the UK. This time there is no sewage, just a collection of awesome songs played by some incredibly passionate and likeable individuals. I am so glad my traffic debacle didn't result in me missing these guys, that would of been very sucky indeed.

So next up is the mighty Yellowcard. My thoughts are at this point are slightly bittersweet as this will be my first and last time seeing them live. For those reading that are not in the know, this tour is their swan song, their farewell to their fans. So after years of waiting do the band deliver? In short fuck yes they do. To elaborate on that, Yellowcard are on fire tonight. They make sure that the last time they play in Manchester is going to be a night to remember, and remember I will. They play through a setlist full of hits that result in mass sing alongs from the crowd creating an atmosphere that can only be described as electric. At the back of my mind I ask myself 'Why are they calling it a day?', because what I bare witness to tonight is a band that are still very much at the top of their game and the look on their collective faces suggest that they still love doing this. I suppose only they can really know their thoughts and feelings on saying goodbye but as swan songs go, this has to be one of the best. I finally get to see Ocean Avenue played live and that in itself is pretty special. The room is a hot sweaty mess come the end of the show and there are smiles everywhere. Yellowcard will be remembered as one of the greats and I am so glad I was fortunate enough to attend one of their farewell shows.

You will be missed guys but certainly not forgotten.

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