Elbow at Hampton Court Palace
Elbow have been at the forefront of the British indie scene for over two decades, with 2022 marking their 25th anniversary as a band. The festival circuit darlings made their debut at Hampton Court Palace Festival with two dates on the 10th and 11th June, an intimate setting with a capacity crowd of 2,500 people – not that you’d know this with the strength of the crowd for the numerous singalong numbers.
The group took to the stage with the sun setting on a glorious early summer evening at the Tudor estate, of course, home to Henry VIII. The audience was treated to 16 songs from across Elbow’s career, offering a fine showcase for the breadth of the band’s sound mixing heavier numbers, like the stomping opener Dexter and Sinister and the serene Mirrorball from the Mercury-winning album The Seldom Seen Kid, two mirror-balls positioned on either side of the stage producing an ethereal glow.
Singer Guy Garvey was in tremendous voice with the whole band proving their worth and entertaining the crowd throughout with no dull moments. Station Approach from 2005’s Leaders of the Free World earnt a rave response. While the setlist was broad, it is a shame there were no tracks from their first two, slightly harder-edged albums, though the more anthemic tracks suited the introspective setting and perhaps audiences at Glastonbury will be treated to some of those early tracks.
The prog-sounding The Birds – which is always a highlight at an Elbow gig – was sheer perfection, with the slow buildup rewarded with Garvey’s soaring vocal in its middle section. As the set drew to its close, the crowd became more involved with singalongs for the stunning My Sad Captains and a rollicking rendition of Grounds for Divorce, preceded by The Bones of You.
Most bands would be happy to close with these tracks, but Elbow’s encore contained Lippy Kids, about Garvey’s native Bury and a clear fan favourite, with the crowd in loud voice singing back the song built around the beauty of Garvey’s voice: “build a rocket boys”. There is clearly no other choice to close an Elbow gig than the iconic One Day Like This, which the group also performed at the Jubilee Concert last week. It’s lost none of its power to unite a crowd 14 years after its initial release during the 2012 Olympics when the track surged up the charts. It was a timeless, joyous celebration of live music.
Hampton Court feels perfect as a concert venue for Elbow who, despite making their debut, felt at home, delivering a rousing set of harder-edged tracks, slower ballads and singalongs, clearly showing why they have such a dedicated fan base and have lasted 25 years.
Photos: Mike Garnell
For further information and future events visit Elbow’s website here.
Watch the video for the single One Day Like This here: