Rugby nut James Dean Bradfield has lifted the lid on the Manic Street Preachers’ jaunt down under to follow the British and Irish Lions test series against Australia.
Their tour saw them:
Busking in the street for fans;
Appearing with a Welsh rugby star on stage; and
Catching one of their heroes rifling for beer in their fridge.
“I’d got to 44 and never been on a Lions tour,” said Cardiff Blues fan Bradfield.
“I always swore I would do a Wales Argentina tour or a Lions tour. All three of us were of the same mindset. We were a bit nervous because we’re not the biggest band in Australia, even though we’ve got a song called Australia, but it couldn’t have gone any better.
“They were amazing gigs. We did a Friday night in Sydney and a Friday night in Melbourne before the tests, but we also did a gig in the street and one in the fans’ zone in Melbourne and Sydney.
“And then we played New Zealand in between them.
“It was an incredible feeling. People might have a vision of the Manics during the Holy Bible era quoting Guy Debord, and then suddenly I’m on stage going ‘How many in English in the crowd? Yay! How many Scots? Yay! How many Irish. Yay! How many Welsh? Yay!
“I even caught myself going ‘oggy, oggy, oggy’,” he laughs.
“This was way outside the sphere of what we usually do. This was just pure joy. There was no motive behind it – it was just playing gigs and going to see some rugby. The usual Manics’ subtext was gone.”
The band, who release their album Rewind The Film on September 16, were joined on stage in Melbourne by Wales and Lions centre Jamie Roberts.
“What a Spinal Tap moment that was as well,” jokes the singer.
“I’ve got a 6ft 2ins bass player over there and a 6ft 4ins rugby player over there and it looked like Clifton Suspension Bridge with the dip in the middle being me singing!
“A lot of people had a laugh at my expense on that tour,” he added. “Somebody took a picture of me, Lewis Moody and Jamie Roberts in the dressing room and I looked like a Hobbit between two Orcs. We laughed every moment we were on that tour.
“When we came off stage in Melbourne, Shane Williams was already in our dressing room looking for a beer in our fridge and I’d never met him before.
“He said: ‘Sorry boys, I was thirsty’. I told him to go ahead. The guy’s a legend. He can have all the beer he wants. I told him ‘take it all son’.
“At one point, I was in a radio booth with David Campese, Shane Williams and Brian Moore. I caught myself thinking I’m in a room full of rugby legends, it doesn’t get much better than this.”