Avril Lavigne – “Best Damn Tour” @ MEN Arena

I went to see Avril Lavigne last night at the MEN Arena in Manchester. It was an excellent concert.

I went to see her about 4 years ago but was sat high up in the upper tier so was far away from the stage. This time we were in the standing area. We got there just abit before 7 and people were already sat on the floor waiting. In the end we ended up pretty close to the front – about 4 or 5 “rows” back.

It was all supposed to start about 8pm but the support act came on at about 730pm. The support band were The Jonas Brothers. Not really my cup of tea and abit too “Disney club”. They sang about 6 songs and there best one was one they sang the A-Ha song “Take on me”.

Avril came on just past 830 and started off with Girlfriend which got the crowd going – as if that was necessary. A great choice for an opening song. I really enjoyed it (being a huge fan) and glad that we went for the standing tickets. I have been reading various posts of Avril Lavigne forums and some people were not pleased she didnt play When Your Gone and Innocense (which is a beautiful song). Also I was a bit disappointed that the set was pretty short. It was only about 1hr 10 mins and not much of an encore.

She sang a mix of songs including ones from her latest album and the classics such as Complicated and Sk8er Boi.

Like I said the set seems quite short – quite a few songs were played but only only about half of it (including the ones when she played the drums at the same time). She also did abit of rapping.

I also liked the dancers – a few of them looking particularly sexy!! 🙂

I think the setlist was:

Girlfriend
I Can Do Better
Complicated
Innocence (interlude)
My Happy Ending
I’m with You
I Always Get What I Want
Linkin Park mix (interlude)
Don’t Tell Me
Hot
Losing Grip
Bad Reputation (interlude)
Everything Back But You
Runaway
Mickey
The Best Damn Thing
I Don’t Have to Try
He Wasn’t

Girlfriend Remix AKA Boyfriend (??)
Sk8er Boi

I have uploaded some photos to my Facebook (so if you know me you can see it there) and also uploaded many more to my Flickr (that may just be for the other Avril fans as there are about 40+ photos). There are also plenty of photos on http://www.avrilbandaids.com.

There are several videos online which can be found on Youtube – I suggest searching for “Avril Lavigne Manchester”. I may link to the better ones below later on. I also recorded some videos myself which I will properly also upload somewhere.

There is a review of the concert in the Manchester Evening News – she gets 4 out of 5.

I have now uploaded some videos from the gig on to my Youtube page.

http://youtube.com/user/asy1mpo

Manchester United – Champions of Europe!!

GiggsUnited played Chelsea last night in the Champions League final in Moscow. It was an extremely tense game. In some ways the best game I have ever seen but in some ways the worst!!

In the end United won 6-5 on penalties. It ended 1-1 after 90 minutes and also after extra time. United scored first with (who else) Ronaldo scoring a great header after excellent work by Brown and Scholes. Chelsea equalised after abit of luck with a couple deflections and Lampard scored. United really should have been at least 3 goals ahead by half time with a couple great chances for Tevez and another for Carrick.

In the 2nd half (and also extra time) it can be argued that Chelsea were slightly better. However we defended really well especially Vidic. There certainly had more shots. However they just didnt take them – they hit the bar 2 or 3 times – my word it was tense, I was pulling my hair out!!

In the crowd there didnt seem to be any problems which some people were worried about and there was a shot of some United fans swapping shirts with some Russia police/guards. 🙂

In extra time a lot of players were suffering from cramp and it all got abit silly with the bad/late challenges and falling about. Drogba (not a stranger to play-acting and generally acting like an idiot) slapped Vidic round the face. It wasnt a big slap or anything like that but the ref saw it and you just cant raise your arms these days.

It then went to penalties and the first few went in with no problems. It then got to Ronaldo who is usually brilliant in penalties. He stepped up, paused (as he usually does) and then shot. However Cech saved. At that point I was just hoping that the next Chelsea player would miss. He didnt 🙁 It got to Chelsea’s 5th penalty and this was taken by Terry. I am sure you all know what happened now but he hit the post after slipping abit (ala Beckham). It turns out that Drogba would have taken the 5th penalty if he wasnt sent off. With Terrys miss it was now sudden death. The 6th pens were fine, but the 7th Giggs scored his (on his record breaking 759th appearance for United) and Anelka (who didnt really look too bothered) missed – or more specifically Var der Sar saved it.

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After the final whistle all the United fans of course were very happy and the Chelsea plays were almost in tears – actually Terry (and I think Lampard) were crying. You could feel abit sorry for him but thats football. Also for his behaviour as a footballer this season (and previous) has not been one of a model professional football never mind a potential England captain – all his moaning and harranging of refs etc. In this match it appears from video evidence that he blew snot on the back of Tevez’s neck. Also the £130,000 / week will help. The penalties were so tense – I actually missed Terry slipping and just looked up as it hit the post. I have since seen replays on Youtube and actually I dont remember Anderson’s penalty. My word it was tense!!

After the game various players were interviewed including Ronaldo. He was asked something like “You cant leave now can you” and he said “I stay”. (Although he was asked a couple hours later and he said his usual non-committed things and “whos knows what happens in the future“.

After all the various post-match interviews I decided to go out and see what was happening on the streets. Straight after the game there was singing and shouting from a couple balconies where I live and I could hear tooting of car horns etc. When I got out there were loads of ppl about who had watched the match in pubs etc, some ppl looked like they were on the way out clubbing, plenty of cars with being singing and waving flags etc. The police were about but there was no problems.

As I type this United have landed back in the UK in the past hour or so. However that will may be the only bit we see of the United players and staff with the two trophies. The council (and/or police) have said there will be no street parade. They dont want a rish of what happened after the UEFA cup last week with the Rangers fans. It wasnt pleasant last week but was a minority of people. Also why would Manchester people ruin there own city!! Thanks a lot Rangers!!! (Well not all of you!!)

I have heard a rumour it could be early August when we have a bus/street parade or maybe just during the Ole Solskjaer testimonial in August. That wont be good if your not there and even if you are, there will be nothing like 10s of 1000s of people lining the street.

Fingers crossed something gets sorted. The editor of the MEN newspaper has been on TV about how there should be a parade.

Great Manchester Run

It was the Great Manchester Run (2008) last weekend and I ran in it again – second time.  I had not done as much training as i wanted so was not expecting to beat my time last year (which was 52 mins 3 secs). I hoped to get under an hour. Training had slipped to just 15 minute runs either in the gym or on the road and also a couple games of football a week.

In the end I finished abit slower than last year with a time of 53 mins 35 seconds. When I crossed over the finish line (after the sprint finish:) ) I looked at the timer and it one said about 42 minutes and another said 1h 1min.  Wasnt sure what my time was as its difficult to figure out how long it actually took me to get past the start line.

This year quite a few of my friends ran it and many for their first time. Well done everyone!!! I think everyone enjoyed it (after finishing anyway!) and may do it next year.

If you know me there are some photos on Facebook.

Rangers fans take over Manchester

It was the UEFA Final on Wednesday between Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg. The game was being played at the City of Manchester stadium so loads of fans made there way to Manchester City Centre to watch on big screens and soak up the atmosphere.

It was thought that about 100,000 fans would come but I have read somewhere that people thing its more like 170,000 or maybe more. The main area where fans congregated was in Picadilly Gardens. However problems started when the big screen in Picadilly Gardens broke. A backup screen near the Velodrome was setup with buses to transport people but a minority of people caused problems throwing bottles, clashed with police, etc.

Some of the scenes seen and read about since are not too pleasant. I was out yesterday and in certain areas there was still a smell of urine 🙁 As well as tons of litter, there have been reports of broken shop windows, a sports car pushed about (saw it on TV – dont know if someone was in it), a policeman chased and beaten up. 🙁

With these problems Manchester City Council will now not have big screens in the city on Wednesday for the Champions League final.

You can see some photos of the aftermath on the BBC News site.

United win the league!!

RonaldoWell its taking me a while to actual post about United winning the league but here it is. It was a lot closer in the end then people though only a few weeks ago but it went all the way down to the final day of the season.

United played OK but Wigan played really well. It was 1-0 for most of the game after Ronaldo scored a penalty. Thats 41 goals this season!! Rooney was fouled in the box and Ronaldo coolly scored. Wigan could have possibly had a penalty when it appeared that Rio handled in the box. Also Scholes was abit lucky to stay in the pitch after a late challenge/block when already on a yellow card.

Towards the end of the match Giggs came on for a record equalling 758 games for United. Legend!! If he plays in the Champions League final then he will beat Sir Bobby Charlton’s record. He has not been playing that well this season but scored the 2nd goal which finished it all off. (It did get a bit tense when Chelsea scored in the 2nd half).

Its the Champions League final next Wednesday (if you didnt know its United v Chelsea). The mind games have been going and I am sure will continue up till the game (and properly after). Avram Grant after the game on Sunday was quite complimentary to United and saying they did well to win league etc etc. However he has been going on about how United have been getting the benefit of referee decisions.

Bitter loser anyone!! CHAMPIONS!!! CHAMPIONS!!! CHAMPIONS!!!