Richard Ashcroft blessed Liverpool’s M&S Arena with his ultimate sermon of acoustic hymns to a sell-out audience.
I have to admit, even as a huge fan of the Verve and Ashcroft’s solo music, I had never seen either live – so when an opportunity see how the main man had reworked his back catalogue for his latest tour came along, it was simply was unmissable!
In fact, the whole evening actually became very nostalgic for me – taking me back to the first time I heard the Verve’s second album – A Northern Soul, way back in 95.
At this point, I was 16 and had just started my first job whilst convincing everyone I knew that Shed7 was the best band on the planet. And although Rick Witter and boys still hold a special place in my heart – there was new sound coming out of the Northwest with The Verve and Oasis and a few years later Doves.
New Order, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and the Fall where probably the biggest commercial bands in the region between 1989 – 1994 – so it was fitting that 95 would bring two other huge bands to my attention. Although, I was little late to the party as The Verve’s debut album A Storm In Heaven in 93 completely passed me by but its one i regularly listen back on today.
So, although ‘Mad Richard’ didn’t play any songs from either of the first two albums, it was difficult not to reminisce on some fond memories of my youth.
However, what was played was almost every track on Urban Hymns to coincide with the launch of the new album Acoustic Hymns. Which personally, I think is fantastic reworked versions of some classic tunes.
The live show which included a full orchestral band was absolutely sublime and had the entire arena up on their feet, with Ashcroft sounding as good as the recorded album. The crowd was definitely up for it singing along to Lucky man, Sonnet and some solo stuff too.
The grand finale was The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony which had pretty much everyone, with a small tear in their eye.