Plus band cover Nirvana during headline slot on NME/Radio 1 Stage
Manic Street Preachers dedicated a song to their former guitarist, Richey Edwards, as well as covering a Nirvana song, when they headlined the NME/Radio 1 Stage at the Reading Festival tonight (August 23)
The Welsh band were playing to a packed-out crowd on the second day of the festival while The Killers played on the Main Stage at the other end of the site.
"Hello! Do you want to go faster?" shouted singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield as the three-piece - backed up by an extra guitarist and keyboard player - launched into opener 'Faster'.
Bradfield then dedicated 'La Tristetta Durera (Scream To A Sigh)' to his former band-mate, guitarist Richey Edwards, who disappeared in 1995.
"So, Reading Festival number five for us," he said. "Richey only played one of those with us. But it feels like he's been there for a lot longer than that."
The band, who were awarded the Godlike Genius award at this year's Shockwaves NME Awards, then played a cover of Nirvana's 'Penny Royaltea'.
Before beginning the song bassist Nicky Wire recalled playing it at the festival before.
"I think we last played this here in 1994," he told the crowd. "Richey was in hospital then, we had to play it as a three-piece, just to pay the bills."
It wasn't the first Nirvana cover of the day. Earlier, on the Main Stage, Dirty Pretty Things played a version of 'In Bloom' by Kurt Cobain's band.
Wire was wearing a black military-style jacket for the show, and had his trademark feather boa curled around his microphone stand, while James Dean Bradfield wore all black and drummer Sean Moore sported a camouflage T-shirt and cap.
In time-honoured fashion the trio had a Welsh flag draped on an amp near the back of the stage.
Later on Wire picked up his decorated stand and shook it at the crowd during 'You Love Us' - then shortly afterwards the band ended with a euphoric rendition of their 1996 UK Number Two single 'A Design For Life', drawing a huge sing-a-long from the crowd.
"Thank you so much. This is the only festival that truly feels like home," said Bradfield before his band left the stage, helping to close the second day of action at the Reading Festival 2008.
[Originally published: New Musical Express, 23 August 2008]