Elbow at Edinburgh Castle; 'Favourite gig of my entire life' says singer Guy Garvey

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There’s a wonderful warmth at the very core of an Elbow gig.

They can take the biggest venue and turn it into a village hall in terms of intimacy and audience involvement.

Factor in the wow factor of playing in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, and you have the setting for a perfect show.

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“Well, this is lovely,” said Guy Garvey as he worked the crowd from the very get-go, raising huge cheers with the ad-lib line ‘Boris free days’ in the opening number, Dexter & Sinister.

Elbow on stage at Edinburgh CastleElbow on stage at Edinburgh Castle
Elbow on stage at Edinburgh Castle

He returned again to the sheer joy of the setting, musing about the castle’s history as the band delivered a magnificent set packed with highlights.

Garvey’s wonderful rapport with the crowd - down to earth, engaging, and laugh out loud funny - was mirrored by the generosity of the credits given to the band members after each and every song.

They’ve been together for three decades almost entirely unchanged, and the ties that bind showed throughout. They are masters of their craft who all bring their own skills to a sound that can go from a whisper to scream, often in the same song.

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Mirrorball was utterly beautiful as was What I Am Without You, the sole cut from their wonderful new album.

My Sad Captains had Garvey conducting the entire audience, while the set closed with a rollicking Grounds For Divorce which brought everyone to their feet.

The encore may have been limited to just two songs, but what a two; Lippy Kids, and then the anthemic One Day Like This, the song that will always define Elbow.

Somewhere amid all the gems, Garvey found time for a Mexican Wave round the stands, and a reverse Mexican Wave on the esplanade which created a giant human ripple.

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Returning for the encore he sang the opening line to Sunshine On Leith, and let the crowd take over, before sparking another sing-a-long as he exited the stage with the first few words of Flower of Scotland.

“Genuinely, this has been my favourite gig of my entire life” he said.

Many in the crowd would echo that sentiment.

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