Manic Street Preachers fans queued around the block as the band played a free gig to thank NHS workers.
The concert was the first of two shows that the band are performing at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff this week, with a ticketed event tomorrow (Monday, September 20) seeing all profits going to NHS Wales charities.
When they announced the show following the start of the pandemic last year, they said: ” We wanted to do something to show our appreciation, love and respect for the NHS and its amazing brave workers.
“One free show and one fundraising show seemed the best way for us to express our deep gratitude for all their heroic work.”
The concert has been postponed twice due to lockdown restrictions, but fans were delighted that the day had finally arrived.
Diehard fan Lindsey Taylor-Fullman had been standing in line for over 11 hours before the gig began, having left her house at 4.45am.
“I’ve been a Manics fan for over 30 years,” she explained. “I’m not necessarily bothered about being the first one in, but I do like to be up at the front by the barrier and be in the position that I’m always in when I got to events like this.”
“I work in children’s mental health, so the last 18 months have been really tough – lockdown has obviously had such a big impact on children and adolescents’ mental wellbeing, and our referrals have increased massively.
“But this is the Manics all over, I’m not surprised at all that they’ve done something like this to support the NHS. That’s the kind of band they are, they’re a band of the people and they’ve always gone above and beyond to look after the fans. They’re one of a kind.”
Gareth Burton, 33, who works in ambulance control, had travelled to Cardiff from Devon just to see the Manics perform.
“I’ve been a fan since I was 15 years old,” he said. “This will be the seventh time I’ve seen them, I’ve travelled around the world to see the Manics.
“I think the gig is going to be really good, hopefully it will be one for the fans to remember. I think it’s great that they’ve given away free tickets to the NHS too. My partner also works in the NHS as a nurse so it’s definitely appreciated by us.”
Friends Emily Hyatt and Emma Lane also waited in line for several hours before the show began.
“Originally we couldn’t get tickets,” Emily explained. “We really tried hard to get some but then luckily some came through and here we are – we’re very excited for the gig.
“It’s really nice to be able to come and enjoy the show,” said Emma. “I work in the ambulance service and the pandemic has put a lot of pressure on us and the rest of the NHS, so we’ve definitely been looking forward to this.”
Huw Jones, who works in an orthodontic teaching unit, managed to get tickets for the gig for him and his family at the last minute.
“We’ve been one of the emergency dental centres throughout the pandemic, allowing people to access emergency care when everything else was shut down.
“The last 18 months have been very, very full on. I was quite excited for the show and thought I’d missed out on tickets actually – but I managed to get some last night on returns. We’re all looking forward to it now.”
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