The show opened with a lone black grand piano on the scaffolding stage, but the gothic minimalism didn’t last long as the Manchester band returned home to kick off the performance with a stunning live debut of ‘Mercy’. The black curtain covering the backdrop quickly fell, to reveal the huge mass of flashing strobes and coloured lights that throbbed throughout the performance, providing the opulence that Hurts’ music conjures.
They quickly moved onto to their dark masterpiece ‘Miracle’, which began the steady crescendo, that whipped the crowd into utter fervour, and peaked at the undeniably crowd pleasing ‘Wonderful Life’. Even the truly depressing and miserable themes and stories of all their songs couldn’t detract from the great time that both the band and the audience were clearly having. Theo seemed to hold a Messiah-like status for the crowd. He gets them to provide the background vocals for ‘Blind’, throw their arms around, and the old school classic of lighting phones to provide a runway for Hurts to make their return to their home ground. Ironically enough this was for ‘Illuminated’; all very classy stuff. “This is the best night of our lives”, was pretty much all Theo seemed able to conjure up between songs, except for saying how the Apollo had always been a pinnacle of ambition since first beginning their career in a Manchester flat.
‘Blood, Tears and Gold’ became a mournful dirge as Theo and Adam performed a fully acoustic rendition of the song, lit only by a single spotlight. The powerful minimalism didn’t last long though, and was quickly shattered by two of their new synth and techno heavy numbers: ‘Exile’ and ‘Sandman’, with the relentless underlying drone causing the crowd to furiously undulate under Theo’s command.
A particular favourite for me (and seemingly most of the crowd) was Stay; the entire audience was whipped into a fervour as Theo strutted around the stage tossing white roses at screaming fans, the lights beating flickering colours and everyone (including the upper circle!) singing and dancing.
The show was undeniably impressive. The encore of ‘Better Than Love’ and ‘Help’ perfectly closed off a night that had combined Hurts’ dark and gothic side with their showy opulence and grandeur. Both albums were fully intertwined and the outcome was a show that encapsulated the range and diversity of Hurts’ talent; it was a night to remember for both the band and the crowd and proved that this duo, rightfully, aren’t going anywhere.
Words: Tom Beaumont