Christine and the Queens at Manchester Academy – A haunting rollercoaster of light and dark | Review

A huge show... with a mixed audience reaction.

Kristen MacGregor-Houlston Kristen MacGregor-Houlston - 8th September 2023

Every now and again, we get invited down to see some of the best music acts.

And when the opportunity to see Christine and the Queens at Manchester Academy popped up, I jumped at the opportunity.

This is the second stop on Chris’ European and US tour for his new album PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE – which is inspired by Tony Kushner’s play, Angels in America – and a follow-up to the critically-acclaimed 2022 album Redcar.

There is a tense air of anticipation for the show to begin, and the stage is dotted with Angelic figures, before Chris starts the show topless – which gets a couple of gasps from the crowd.

The show is split into three parts, reflecting the three elements of the album name. The band puts on a haunting performance, a far-cry from the upbeat, pop-style music that many may have been expecting.


The show definitely splits the crowd, both in who was attending, and in how people were reacting.

Christine and the Queens has a broad reach and diverse audience, with a surprising number of older concert-goers. From the murmurings I could hear around me, some people were hugely-impressed with the entrancing battle on stage between love, pain, and religion, whilst others seemed to be frustrated and disappointed that they weren’t playing the classics.


Me, on the other hand? I was captivated.

Like a moth drawn to a flame, the mesmerising light show and performance from Chris was like something I’ve never come across – and I loved it.

It’s clear that this performance, and the album, is reflective of Chris’ journey with his queerness, recently announcing his new pronouns as he/him. The band itself is named after the drag queens that Chris lived with in his younger years, and a love letter to the way they helped him explore his gender and self.


The performance is a poetic and dramatic exploration of ones’ self, with Chris transitioning between his topless form, to an armoured warrior, and finally becoming an angel himself, and it was magical (if you like that sort of thing).

This new album and tour isn’t going to be for everyone, and if you’re expecting some pop hits, then this isn’t for you.

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But, if you want to hop on board an evocative journey of self discovery and expression, then the PARANOÏA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE tour is where it’s at.

Featured Image – Publicity picture