When Suede emerged in the early 1990s their gigs were frenzied, dramatic affairs - scenes not witnessed since The Smiths’ heyday the previous decade.
Now their grown-up fans may struggle to hurl themselves at the stage with the same gusto, but the band themselves still retain the energy that made them such a thrilling live spectacle.
Brett Anderson and company pitched up at the Manchester Academy on their first proper national tour since returning for a series of charity gigs more than three years ago.
The reformed ‘Coming Up’-era line-up - original guitarist Bernard Butler still opts out of joining Suede onstage again - are supporting their comeback album Bloodsports, which went some way towards proving that reunited groups can record new songs with dignity intact.
The night’s set was drawn from the new LP, as well as focusing on Suede’s first three albums, beginning ambitiously with Still Life, Dog Man Star’s tortured closing track, followed by three Bloodsports numbers.
Anderson - in enviously fine fettle for 46 - prowled the stage in trademark microphone-cord-whipping, hip-shaking style, while the underrated Richard Oakes reeled off intricate guitar lines, from the epic tour de force The Asphalt World, played in its 10-minute entirety, to the crunching, glam-rock riffs of The Drowners and Animal Nitrate.
Brett is obviously still proving a point after Suede’s ignominious split in 2003, and paused regularly with arms outstretched as if lapping up the adoration of millions, slightly incongruous in the Academy’s more bijou surroundings. The flies in his ointment were the punters who talked loudly over hushed ballads, Anderson rebuking them after the acoustic The Living Dead with: ‘That was dedicated to the people who had the courtesy to shut up and listen’.
After exploring the outer reaches of the Suede songbook - including a snarling take on B-side He’s Dead - an astonishing four-song burst of So Young, Metal Mickey, Beautiful Ones and New Generation finished the night.
The group say they’re taking each new venture one step at a time, and whether they should take a last bow before diminishing returns set in is debatable, but right now the triumph is all theirs.