Upon arrival at the Summer Series set-up at Trinity College, Dublin, it’s easy to see who’s up first. With amplifiers adorned in Welsh flags, Shirley Bassey playing over the PA and a James Baldwin quote in red font against a black backdrop, it could only be the Manic Street Preachers.

In another ‘90s alternative rock fan’s dream, this co-headlining tour makes all the fiscal sense in the world for promoters but is a bit of an odd couple scenario. The Manics, for all of their hair metal adulation in their earlier days, were a band seemingly at odds with themselves. Messrs Nicky Wire and Richey James Edwards were otherwise punks who wrote dense Marxian prose and self-effacing diatribes, while frontman James Dean Bradfield never shied away from his love for classic rock. Suede, meanwhile, were foppish, decadent, glamorous and sleek but usually a very good time.

On this tour, the Manics open with intent, kicking off with the Clash-via-Guns N’ Roses rocker ‘You Love Us’, which gave way to the anthemic ‘Everything Must Go’, and the melancholic power balladry of ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’.

“There’s gonna be no rock and roll bullshit – look at this shirt” declares Bradfield, dressed head to toe in black, smart casual attire. Wire, however, brought enough style for everyone, rocking wayfarers and a long shopcoat.

Despite the early haymakers, Manics box somewhat more reservedly for the remainder. Softer and poppier numbers like ‘From Despair To Where’, ‘You Stole The Sun From My Heart’ and ‘Your Love Alone Is Not Enough’ make their way out to rapturous receptions but one can’t help but feel like the band have been scuppered by support act sound syndrome. The songs don’t carry as much weight as their radio-ready studio counterparts.

It’s worth noting as well that Bradfield tactically toys with vocal melodies and steps away from the microphone to allow the crowd to do the heavy lifting, saving his once untouchable voice for the highs of ‘A Design For Life’ or set-closer ‘If Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’. Time catches up to us all, as they say.

Suede, however, operate on a completely different level. Frontman Brett Anderson, who stands out from his all-in-black bandmates in an immaculate white button-down and blue skinny jeans, is as captivating a live performer as he ever was. He rarely stands still, interchangeably swinging his microphone, dropping to his knees during ‘Trash’, leaping from monitors or getting intimate with the front row during ‘The Drowners’. During ‘The Two Of Us’, on the other hand, he lies flat on his back or cavorts upon a speaker.

As captivating as he is, his band are every bit as tight, with Richard Oakes, Mat Osman, Simon Gilbert and Neil Codling rollicking through fan favourites like ‘Filmstar’, ‘New Generation’ and ‘So Young’ without a single hiccup.

It’s only on ‘She’s In Fashion’ that we see a glimpse of Anderson’s humility, as he concedes he cannot sing it properly any more “because my voice is fucked”, opting for a stripped back, down-key acoustic arrangement. This coming from a man who not ten minutes before declared 2022’s Autofiction is Suede’s best album (“I’ve got the graphs to prove it”). It’s not really up for debate but tracks like ‘15 Again’, ‘Turn Off Your Brain And Yell’ and ‘She Still Leads Me On’ prove that the band still have a bit of the old magic left.

After this brief detour, the closing moments are pure balls out rockers – and during ‘So Young’, ‘Metal Mickey’ and ‘Beautiful Ones’, Anderson plays the crowd like a fiddle. Before their finale, he leads the audience in a rendition of the latter song’s wordless outro before Oakes takes the lead.

The Manics were solid, but Suede well and truly stole the show, leaving it all on stage for an audience who were really just happy to see them.