Manchester Academy’s touts are out in full force at this sold-out gig: “I’ll sell you this for £90,” one says. Ninety English pounds for a ticket that at face value cost only £26.50, and, with my own eyes, I watch a man buy it!
Once inside, support act letlive. are as entertaining as ever. Lauded by many as the new faces of hardcore, they put on an insane show, complete with front flips, dismantled drum-kits and vocalist Jason Aalon Butler running through the crowd to the back of the venue during Casino Columbus. Their raucous, raw set is a force to be reckoned with, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if letlive. were in the same position as Deftones are now after twenty years in the business. The (actual!) ticket price was worth seeing them alone.
Once the letlive. set is over, the venue is buzzing with anticipation and expectation. The 2,500 strong crowd starts to really fill out the venue just in time for Deftones’ entrance – one of dubstep and strobe lighting that sets the scene for the rest of the show. Each member comes on stage to a slightly louder cheer than the last and by the time front man Chino Moreno hits the stage to perform first song Diamond Eyes, the crowd are roaring with excitement.
Putting fan-favourites Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away) and My Own Summer (Shove It) third and forth in the set-list respectively seems like a risk at first, but as the show carries on, it’s clear that Deftones have more than enough great material to allow for a show that never falters. Every silence and guitar changeover is filled with chants from the crowd, usually a steady “Chino, Chino, Chino…” that just shows how much the fans – who are an almost even mix of younger, newer fans and those that have been around since 1993 – admire and adore the leading man.
A stand-out moment is when Chino, on the raised platform set up at the front of the stage over the monitors, stands holding a guitar, bathed in white light, performing Change (In the House of Flies). The song prompts a mass singalong before the band ends with Bloody Cape and leaves the stage for the encore.
After what seems like hours, Deftones take to the stage for their final three songs, all from debut album Adrenaline – a work that is almost 20 years old, but you’d never guess. The songs are timeless and the performance is polished, but still manages to retain that rawness that was caught on that first album. Their energy doesn’t let up for the 15 minutes they’re back on stage, and there’s not a moment when the crowd are standing still.
Set-closer 7 Words takes the atmosphere to a whole new level, and Deftones leave the stage as if they just invented the phrase “ending on a high”.
As the crowd shuffle out, Deftones’ praises are being sung by everyone in ear-shot, and outside the group of people where the steam coming from their heads in the freezing February night is a testament to just how much people got into the show tonight.
And come to think of it, if I had spent £90 on a ticket like that man buying from a tout, the show still would have been worth every penny.