As the opening lyrics to To Be Free; “Don’t come looking for me, I don’t want to be found, I just want to be free” reverberated around the beautiful Manchester Ritz, Tonight Alive take to the stage to a welcoming roar of a crowd that haven’t seen their return to this city in a year and a half. Fanatically excitable and eager to hear what the band have to offer since their absence, the crowd are rowdy and impatient. Tracks from the most recent offering The Fire, The Ocean and Hell And Back bring back the familiarity of the Tonight Alive the fans know and love and delving deeper into their back catalogue, the powerful delivery of Amelia is more suited to this audience of bigger proportion.
“Delicious” is how the Tonight Alive frontwoman, Jenna McDougall, described the crowds interaction throughout What Are You So Scared Of?, a song that solidly has the Tonight Alive stamp all over it, lovingly freeing and encouraging. After an acoustic intimate rendition of Complexes, McDougall accompanied by guitarist Whakaio Taahi decide on fan requested track Safe & Sound which has merely grazed setlists since 2012, causing an immediately euphoric reaction from everyone in the audience. To complete the acoustic run, The Other Side included a few extended lyrics that never made it onto the album version. Listening however completely erupted the crowd into a frenzy of pushing, shoving and crowd serving to get a lucky high five from McDougall, as a few did. Drive’s borderline reggae lyrical presentation make for a perfectly groovy live anthem that rounds the set off perfectly before the encore.
The last time the band played Manchester, they recalled it to be one of their favourite shows of their lives, this may not be that same venue but the fans have still sold this venue out and everyone was keen to hear what Tonight Alive have done in their time away from the UK.
The new tracks from the forthcoming album ‘Limitless’ were received as highly as if they’d been in the setlist for years. How Does It Feel? Is as infectious live as the studio version, complemented with McDougall’s enjoyable dancing that almost invited the crowd to lose control too. You can see physically and mentally the change in Tonight Alive, their music reflects a more developed band than recent years. They’re used to having chaotic crowds and this time was no different. As cheesy as it sounds, they truly seemed limitless.
The new album ‘Limitless’ is out March 4th via Easy Life / Sony RED which you can pre-order here.
Photo Credit: Erin Moore / Forte Photography UK