This isn't a full review, because mostly everything I said about the band's first UK date in Cambridge (see last blog post) applies here, their last UK date.
Overall, I think it was a slightly better performance, although with seats in the circle to the sides rather than being at the front, not quite as fun an experience! The new material in the set seemed to have benefitted from having had longer to bed-in. The slight tentativeness I described in Cambridge was gone, with "Life on a Film Set" and "Into the Storm", in particular, that little bit tighter. This was the best "Into the Storm" I've heard across these two shows and several boots.
This was a longer set than in Cambridge, a 2.75 hour run time (including an interval, at the venue's request). They played all of the rehearsed songs except "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and re-arranged the order to suit playing two sets (although in a different way to in Brighton): intro music: "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra", "Yours is No Disgrace", "Tempus Fugit", "I've Seen All Good People", "Life on a Film Set", "And You and I", Howe solo ("Solitaire", "Trambone"), "Heart of the Sunrise", interval, "Fly from Here", "Wonderous Stories", "Into the Storm", "Machine Messiah", "Starship Trooper", encore: "Roundabout". This gave the first set a big ending in "Heart of the Sunrise", but required the courage to open the second set with the full "Fly from Here" suite. It paid off with a positive audience reaction, although the biggest response was for "Wonderous Stories" and I was also chuffed at the very strong support for "Machine Messiah".
"Machine Messiah" was the one song we hadn't heard in Cambridge and a personal favourite, so I was very happy to hear it. That said, I wonder whether it has suffered from not being played every night, because there were a few flubs earlier on in the piece, due to Downes I think. Otherwise, performances were strong all round, with "Roundabout" (and Downes' playing on it) an unexpected highpoint. Squire was clear, focused and in good voice (and had his mum in the audience). White, full of energy. Howe, reliable as ever. David was better than in Cambridge, although still the occasional weak spot. The long note in the transition in the middle of "Life on a Film Set" still eludes him. And I still don't like how the band use "Starship Trooper: Würm" like "All Good People", as a place to set indvidual solos. I don't mind individual solos; I'm just a purist about how they should approach "Würm"!
So, great set, great performances, band are confident and appear to be still improving. I look forward to seeing reviews of the rest of the tour as it travels eastwards through Europe.