Rain, overpriced pints, and the primal perfection of live music | Jack Marshall's column

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When it comes to the magic of live music, one of my brothers gets it and the other doesn’t.

The last time we went to a gig in 2019, myself and Brother Two couldn’t have had a better time: we got drunk on cheap lager, danced under a setting sun amidst a humming and sweaty crowd, and left with knees sore from jumping about like happy idiots.

Brother One, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy the experience in the slightest. Too many people, he said. Too loud, he said. Just not fun at all, he said. He joined us in the mass of limbs for a bit, but swiftly decided he hated it and retreated to the back and got a beer.

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Fair enough. To each their own and different strokes for different folks and all that. But I was reminded of his reticence recently after finally being able to return to watch live music again after an almost-three year absence owing to that-which-shall-not-be-named.

Tool at the Manchester ArenaTool at the Manchester Arena
Tool at the Manchester Arena

Earlier this month Tool, one of the greatest rock bands of all time, came to Manchester. This was it: a chance to be a very happy idiot again. My time had finally come. Hopes were very high.

Puppy-dog peps in our steps, myself and Brother Two went along to the Manchester Arena, drenched after being caught in a classically Mancunian downpour beforehand but nevertheless ecstatic. Even the scandalous £7.50 pints couldn’t dim our enthusiasm.

Fear not, I’m won’t describe the (outstanding) gig in great detail here - I’ve already regaled friends and family with all the details numerous times. But, suffice to say, it was perfect and great and wonderful and brilliant and magnificent. And Danny Carey is a god on the drums.

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Music is something we gravitate towards primally; something in our atoms craves drum beats and crescendos. Hearing it live only awakens that instinct more keenly, turning the toe-tapping you do at home into uninhibited euphoria.

I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed it, how much I’d relish thinking ‘what I’m seeing is absolutely amazing’. I dare say even Brother One would have been converted. If not, he could’ve at least got a £22.50 round in.