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10. Manipulator (The Cross - Live In Leicester 2/21/1988)

This is the earliest circulating The Cross tape. A recording of the previous night in Glasgow exists but isn’t widely available. Several of tonight’s performances have nuances which aren’t heard at later shows. The band are generally in good form tonight despite it being only 3 shows in. While Roger’s performances are sometimes restrained compared to later versions, he delivers a top version of “Man On Fire” from a phrasing standpoint. The tape is mostly complete aside from a small cut before “Laugh Or Cry”. Although the clarity is good, it is a bit overblown with the occasional slight pitch fluctuation.

“Love Lies Bleeding” has some sharp backing vocals after the 1st chorus. During the last verse, Roger whispers through “now she’s rich”. He also sings the second “love in the future, love in the past” conservatively. Lastly, he overshoots the last “burn” but corrects himself. “Cowboys And Indians” starts with Roger being late on “it’s a long fast dance”. The second verse sounds restrained compared to later versions. It is a solid version overall. “Love On A Tightrope” contains minimal oversinging. However, Roger has intonation issues during the 3rd chorus. Additionally, during the last verse, Roger mixes up “animal lips” and “animal hair”. “Heaven For Everyone” has Roger swapping around the lyrics from the end of the 1st chorus to halfway through the 2nd. Peter throws in his usual “I know I like your style” lyric. It is a typical version overall. “Strange Frontier” has a minute-long instrumental opening. During the 1st verse, Roger oversings “from out of the light” and “it could”. Roger changes the lyrics around during the first 3 choruses and has off intonation during the last. The latter also applies to the backing singers. Also, Peter does some nice bass work during this song.

“Contact” has Spike playing a bum note with his saxophone samples. Roger also speak-sings the last “you dance so well” and is slightly conservative on the last “don’t speak”. It is a solid version overall. “Man On Fire” has Roger singing “find some way” instead of “find my way”. He is away from his mic for this. He also does his usual oversinging during the back half of the verse and gets the last 4 chorus D5s. However, he doesn’t sing the 1st “sometimes” of the last chorus. “I’m In Love With My Car” has Roger attempting the 1st D5 and falling flat. The verses are solid though. However, Spike, Clayton, and Peter seem to be out of touch during the ending. “Laugh Or Cry” is solid as usual. “Manipulator” features drumming which is slightly different compared to later versions. Near the ends of the choruses, the higher harmony is in falsetto like the record. This is the only recording to feature such phrasing. After the 1st chorus, Spike plays a bum chord but recovers it. It is a strong version overall. “Let’s Get Drunk” begins with the higher harmony being more restrained compared to later versions. During the 2nd verse, “yes I know and I know” has a unique delivery. Clayton only gets the 1st chorus A4. Like in Nottingham, the ending is longer than later versions. At one point during the outro, Clayton plays sharp.

“Shove It” has a unique opening of a guitar sustain followed by the keyboard riff. The vocals are restrained compared to later versions. However, it is a good version overall. “Stand Up For Love” begins with Roger sounding quiet on the first few lines though he does get the lyrics right. He also manages to get both “time to make your stand” D5s though he is slightly conservative with the chorus ahead of the 2nd. He also hits 2 during the finale. During the second “stand, stand” section, the backing vocalists aren’t heard for the first few measures. Lastly, the harmonies are off during the 1st chorus. “Feel The Force” contains a solid vocal though the ending has weird phrasing. Additionally, Clayton plays some nice licks during his solo. “Let’s Get Crazy” has Roger singing “give you” instead of “show you my heart”. During the 2nd verse, he does unique phrasing on and misses the back half of “hey little fruitcake...” as well as missing “we’ll get some action”. The former is followed by some odd harmonies. Roger does some off phrasing before “let’s get insane” during the 2nd chorus. There is a guitar solo at the start of the breakdown which is missing in later versions. Additionally, there is also some feedback-heavy guitar at the end.

Roger Taylor- Vocals, rhythm guitar, additional drums on “Let’s Get Crazy”

Spike Edney- Keyboards, backing vocals

Clayton Moss- Lead guitar, lead vocals on “Manipulator” and “Let’s Get Drunk”, backing vocals

Peter Noone- Bass, lead vocals during the bridge of “Heaven For Everyone”, backing vocals

Joshua Macrae- Drums

Suzie O’List- Backing vocals

Gillian O’Donovan- Backing vocals

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