Let’s get a couple of things out of the way right up front here guys: 1) I am a massive Grandaddy fan-boy who has been waiting to see them for around 15 years, and 2) I cry a lot. I cry at things I find joyous, I cry at things I find sad, I cry at things that are poignant, I cry at things that are funny. I also cry a lot on the way to work on my bike when the wind makes my eyes stream, but that’s more of an elements thing tbh. Anyway, these two things hit each other head on whilst I was watching one of my favourite bands of all time, and I forgot to bring tissues.

Grandaddy made three outstanding albums in the late nineties/early noughties, Under The Western Freeway, The Sophtware Slump and Sumday, before frontman Jason Lytle followed them up with what was essentially a solo album in Just Like The Fambly Cat , and then the band ceased to remain. Lytle made two great solo albums, and then, kinda out of nowhere in 2012, the band got back together and toured, and then stopped again until 2016 when a second reunion and promise of a new album was touted about. The band came good on that promise, releasing The Last Place to much acclaim earlier this year, and it’s that album that the band are touring tonight at Manchester’s majestic Albert Hall.

As if I couldn’t be more excited, legs all jittery, heart a flutter, hands nervously clasped around a pint, the band open with Sophtware’s ‘Hewlett’s Daughter’ and they’ve got me. My face exploded into what can only be described as a shit-eating grin, one which doesn’t remove itself from my little face until about 11.30 at night when I finally make it to bed and fall asleep. Despite them having a really decent new album out, they don’t play anything from it in the first three songs, instead following ‘Hewlett’s Daughter’ with oldies ‘Yeah Is What We Had’ and ‘Laughing Stock’, and they warm up the crowd a treat. The first taste of the new songs comes in the wonderful ‘Way We Won’t’, with the only other songs from the album across the night being ‘Evermore’, total ear-worm ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Here Anymore’, and a fully epic ‘The Boat Is In The Barn’ during the encore, a song that is stadium ready if I ever I heard one.

Instead of playing the whole new album, they treat us to what amounts to a greatest hits set, and it’s all kinds of wonderful. My first crying episode happens during ‘The Crystal Lake’, as soon as the arpeggio synths kick in my eyes just burst, and it’s because I’m just so unbelievably happy to hear it. I don’t have time to wipe away the tears with the back of my hand before Lytle segues into ‘So You’ll Aim Towards The Sky’, the sweeping end to Sophtware where 2000 man finally blasts off into the atmosphere, Lytle’s gentle voice wringing all the emotion in the world out of the four simple repeated lines: “so you’ll aim towards the sky/and you’ll rise high today/fly away, far away/far from pain”. It’s utterly captivating and astonishingly emotional for my little over-stimulated brain to cope with. A stellar ‘A.M. 180’, which most people will recognise as the theme tune to Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe gives me some respite from the tears, until a couple of songs later they deliver the coup de grace to my tear ducts: ‘Jed’s Other Poem (Beautiful Ground)’.

Jed is a robot that the band build and become friends with until the novelty wears off and he’s disregarded, lumped on the scrap heap because something better has come along (how apt, with our consumer society where we upgrade and discard without a second thought). This is documented early on in Sophtware on ‘Jed The Humanoid’. A few songs later comes ‘Jed’s Other Poem (Beautiful Ground)’, which is Jed’s demise told from the point of view of a poem Jed has written, and my God it’s poignant as fuck. And, having not played it for a while, they play it tonight and it’s everything I could ever want and more and I weep like a small child. Even when they finish the set with two of my favourite songs of all time in ‘Now It’s On’ and the incredible ’He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot’, not a lot can come close to the effect ‘Jed’ has on me. And I’m not sure many things in my gig going life this year will come close either.

It’s been 15 years since I fell in love with Grandaddy, and tonight I’ve finally seen them, and as I leave, my face sticky with tears, grin plastered over my stupid face, I think how lucky I am to have a band like Grandaddy in my life. Let them into yours too, you won’t be sorry. Pass me the tissues, I’m welling up thinking about it.

Grandaddy: Official | Facebook | Twitter