This one goes out to the long-term followers

In 2001 the Manics headlined the Reading and Leeds main stage, playing a bill topping set few have managed to beat since. Eight years on they were back, again as headliner, but as a demonstration of the fact that they’re no longer flavour of the month, closed the Leeds weekend in the Radio 1 tent instead, an irony in itself given how that station rarely gives the Manics daytime airplay anymore.

Pendulum and MGMT were among those who drew bigger crowds to this stage over the weekend, and judging by the reaction the Manics earlier and lesser known set choices received, those in attendance were largely hardcore followers. They were duly rewarded for their long-term support with over half the setlist coming from before ‘Everything Must Go’, a time universally acknowledged to be the band’s finest work.

'Faster’, 'La Tristesse Durera’ and 'Motorcycle Emptiness’ opened proceedings, joined by recent single ‘Your Love Alone’ and a brilliant cover of Nirvana’s 'Pennyroyal Tea’.

The next massive sing-along moment came for 'You Stole The Sun From My Heart’, but the biggest cheer of the night came when 'Little Baby Nothing’ was introduced by Nicki Wire as a song “written by the genius hand of Mr Richey Edwards.”

'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’, complete with dedication to Bullet For My Valentine and 'You Love Us’ came next, with another treat for the older fan in the form of ‘Holy Bible’ track 'Of Walking Abortion’.

This just left brilliant early single 'Motown Junk’ before another huge crowd participation moment with 'A Design For Life’ bringing the night and the festival to it’s end.

The quality of the Manic Street Preacher’s music released may have dipped until the excellent recent album ‘Send Away the Tigers’, but the standard of their live shows never moved from being top draw. This was a perfectly judged setlist since the floating, casual music fan was more likely to have been watching The Killers on the Main Stage, meaning the rest of us could enjoy one of Britain’s finest, playing tracks from the point when they were at their peak. We may never see them headline the Main Stage at Leeds and Reading again, but for those who still love them, this was one of the sets of the weekend.