There's a brisk trade in bands performing celebrated albums in full to audiences who can pretend to feel a few decades younger for an evening.
But you don’t get any such lazy nostalgia from Massive Attack, whose reinterpretation of their 1998 LP Mezzanine made it feel just as relevant in 2019.
Film-maker Adam Curtis’s kinetic montage on the huge screens — from harrowing war footage to world leaders and a troubled Britney Spears — was accompanied by political slogans (“Take back control”) and mocking references to big tech. His sinister story of the last 21 years freed up the band to focus on their sublime music. Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall were joined by original guest vocalists Liz Fraser and Horace Andy, whose burst of dad dancing was a rare incursion of fun during this forbidding audiovisual production.
Mezzanine’s moody songs were interspersed with tracks used as samples on that record, including a clattering cover of The Cure’s 10:15 Saturday Night. The touring musicians switched easily between trip-hop and post-punk, though a few soporific moments crept in when they drifted into chill-out territory.
The band maintained their sense of mystery with Del Naja’s mumbling vocal on a dimly-lit stage. Yet it was a powerful arena production, which peaked with the juddering groove of Angel and the ethereal perfection of Teardrop. A dazzling deconstruction of a classic album.