The Verve - The O2, London - 13/12/07

17 Dec 2007

richard ashcroft, nick mccabe (and the other two) bury the hatchet to celebrate what has conclusively been the year of the comeback with one of their biggest ever headline shows.

The Verve

Every behemoth rock group in town seems to be reforming at the moment - Led Zeppelin (minus John Bonham) and the Sex Pistols (minus Sid Vicious) to name but two. Who next? Pink Floyd (minus Syd Barret), again? The Beatles without John or George? It's easy for the average music fan to get slightly jaded with these reformations, as most of the musicians clearly are "in it for their pensions", to bastardise a classic Frank Zappa song. Yet The Verve don't come across like that.

For one thing, Richard Ashcroft and his new hairdo are way off pensionable age, and this comeback tour was greatly and genuinely anticipated by music fans who looked upon Verve albums such as A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns as the pinnacle of all things, good, indie and northern in the 1990s.

Tonight, "Dickie" Ashcroft swaggers on stage sporting a new blonde look, huge shades, skinny jeans and white shoes - looking very much the indie icon his audience aspire towards. Long gone was the gaunt heroin chic look of the 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' years, when he must have been necking copious amounts of Slimfast.

The original line up of Peter Salisbury, Nick McCabe and Simon Jones played a tight set peppered with anthems like 'Sonnet', 'History', 'Space and Time,' and 'On Your Own', each admirably retaining its importance and status years down the line.

Ashcroft also performed an acoustic version of the 'Drug's Don't Work', which had the potential to cause a bit of a scene between him and McCabe. The tension was finally resolved by the rest of the band leaving the stage and allowing Ashcroft to fulfil his diva ambitions, which earlier on involved him smashing up his guitar after singing 'Lucky Man.' Such a rock and roll atmosphere infected much of the set, not least in a monumental closing version of 'Come On'.

Ashcroft looked like he had genuinely enjoyed this reunion tonight - proving that there maybe some truth in the old adage that blondes have more fun.

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