For a band famed for their longevity and the strength of their union, fortysomething schoolfriends Elbow have been weathering an awful lot of change. Since their last album, the Bury band have said goodbye to drummer Richard Jupp after 25 years, while singer Guy Garvey has acquired a wife, a solo album, and the second this tour is over, his first child.
All that hasn’t stopped them from making their seventh album their second number one, and they proved, as ever, reliable providers of the kind of night that makes fans shed a tear and hug a stranger.
The four remaining founder members put on a striking display of unity at the start, performing Gentle Storm in a line illuminated by vertical white light rods. A curtain dropped, new drummer Alex Reeves and two backing singer violinists were added, and the band set about delivering careful, unhurried music that was rich in warmth and romance and lyrical gorgeousness.
Songs old and new were slow to unfurl but invariably worth the wait. The second half of Little Fictions was a musical firework display. The endlessly repeated chorus of One Day Like This, as ever, confirmed that this is a band to treasure for another 25 years.