↓ Skip to the review quotes from the opening night of Massive Attack V Adam Curtis

↓ Skip to the audience tweets from the opening night of Massive Attack V Adam Curtis

↓ Skip to the videos from the opening night of Massive Attack V Adam Curtis

After nearly six months of waiting since its announcement, the event billed succinctly as "Massive Attack V Adam Curtis", opened to an expectant crowd of roughly 2,000 at Manchester's Mayfield Depot. The shroud of secrecy over this unusual pairing was finally lifted; so what would they have in store for us.

Disclaimer upfront, I wasn't at the show personally. I'm going for the final few shows next weekend, but that didn't stop me from following along on Twitter to the real-time tweets of the crowd last night, and then the next morning as the initial press reviews started appearing. So, being an observer for the moment, all I can say is that the overall impression I've gleaned was that the show drew a decidedly mixed reaction, with some loving it and others being completely turned off by it.

I expected such a reaction, considering all the secrecy over the gig. No one really knew what to expect, and with that you'll always get some disappointment when things don't go the way you want.

But probably the biggest spoiler about the show that we now know is that it is very heavily weighted towards the Adam Curtis side of things, with Massive Attack being more periphery to proceedings, only performing one song from their own catalogue (the Portishead remix of Karmacoma).

The rest of the live performance being a bevy of covers ranging from Liz Fraser channeling Dusty Springfield on "The Look Of Love", to Horace Andy singing "Sugar Sugar" (which I admit does make a lot of sense, now that I think about it).

I'll have to reserve my own judgement how all this will work alongside Adam Curtis's film, but I do think they could have publicized the cover heavy nature of the show from the start.

While it was always safe to assume this was'nt going to be a typical Massive Attack gig, I don't think its unreasonable to believe that in an event billed as "Massive Attack V Adam Curtis", that we would be privy to some of Massive's finest musical moments, especially after touting that Elizabeth Fraser and Horace Andy would be part of the show. 

With that little opinion out of the way, I'm going to dedicate the rest of this post to curating some of the reviews and tweets from people who were there at last night's opening show, both the positive and the negative. I've also found some audience shot footage on YouTube that shows off the production (and it does look quite spectacular).

Anyway, I'd advise anyone going to the shows to go with an open mind and decide for yourself afterwards. Myself included!

By contrast, while the music darts from Siberian punk to Horace Andy-sung covers of the Shirelles’ Baby It’s You and Sugar Sugar by the Archies, there’s very little of the Massive Attack we know. Karmacoma, one of the band’s most famous tunes, is obliterated by machine gun fire; Fraser’s rare presence doesn’t allow an outing of Teardrop, her much-loved single with Massive. It feels churlish to want hits in something so pioneering, but as the volume passes 100 decibels it feels actively uncomfortable.
— Dave Simpson (The Guardian - July 2013)
The intensity of the experience with the chest-thumping bass was on occasion nightmarish and the repeating slogans felt uncomfortably like being persecuted by an undermining inner voice. Hope, that we could seize power again came too little and too late. Disappointing.
— Jonathan Brown (The Independent - July 2013)
Massive Attack started to hold their own when we got onto present bass-shaking ground, recreating the dislocating, adrenaline-fuelled confusion of modern technological living, making you feel like a kind of Alice in Wonderland who has stepped inside a giant TV locked on 24 hour rolling news. As an experiment in combining sound and vision it was by turns baffling and beautiful and by the end of the night I was left mentally stirred if not physically shaken.
— Bernadette McNulty (The Telegraph - July 2013)

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