Co-op Live arena FINALLY opens with Elbow gig - see inside, photos + fan reaction

Virgin Radio

15 May 2024, 11:15

Elbow performing inside the Co-op Live arena and the venue from an aerial view

Credit: Mark Kaye Photography/Getty

Manchester’s troubled Co-op Live arena finally opened its doors to fans yesterday night (15th May) for a gig from local legends Elbow.

Elbow’s performance at the venue was a welcome one, as it marked the end of a disastrous several weeks which saw shows including Peter Kay’s current comedy tour, Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts tour, and five Take That concerts cancelled, postponed and rescheduled as a result of issues with the arena.

Taking to the stage to play their penultimate 2024 UK tour date, Elbow’s lead vocalist Guy Garvey yelled to fans “Let’s open this venue properly!”



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Elbow's Guy Garvey performing with red lights and an Elbow light up sign behind him

Credit: Mark Kaye Photography

Manchester Evening News reporter Jenna Campbell later reported how Garvey celebrated the audience’s “electric” energy in the impressive indoor venue - the biggest of its kind in the UK.

“Everybody who has been working on this building has been so nervous and so excited today,” Garvey shared during a break from the band’s songs. “There was already electricity in the air before you lot got in here, and now it’s fully amped up.”

Elbow's Guy Garvey performing with white lights behind him

Credit: Mark Kaye Photography

Ahead of playing their final song of the evening, the guitarist added sweetly: “You’ve house-warmed this wonderful new venue.”

Reacting to the venue’s inaugural show, Elbow fans were full of enthusiasm for the Co-op Live arena.

Elbow's Pete Turner playing the guitar

Credit: Mark Kaye Photography

“Amazing night at The Co-op Live watching Elbow officially open the venue,” one ticket holder shared on X (formerly Twitter). “Super helpful staff, well organised, loads of loos (v important), speedy bar service, great sound, gorgeous visuals and a cracking gig!” they praised.

“Good things about Co-op Live: venue not as soulless as AO Arena and staff are uniformly lovely,” another concert goer penned online.

Elbow's Guy Garvey fistpumping the air on stage at the Co-op Live

Credit: Mark Kaye Photography

One issue did occur ahead of Elbow’ show for ticket holders with seats in Block 102, as a sheet of tarpaulin was left blocking off access to that area when customers began to arrive.

“Complete shambles in block 102… partially covered by tarp and no one knows why. We paid for seats we can’t sit in. Being moved constantly with no viable alternative" one person wrote on X about the issue. 

Elbow's Mark Potter

Credit: Mark Kaye Photography

However, this issue was soon sorted, with a venue spokesperson later saying: “The drapes were covering some seats that were sold, and were moved as soon as this was brought to our attention.”