When the Wigan icon returned with ‘These People’ in 2016, we saw him twice in London. Once at the o2, where he delivered a stunning orchestra backed set of the classics. The following summer, at Brixton Academy, something astonishing happened. A man who, to millions, has nothing to prove let his burning desires for people to love his new music pour over his adoring fans. He was a man possessed. Having made his point emphatically, what would he do this time?
Resplendent in his glitter ball jacket, he bounced on stage this past Saturday at London’s vast Olympia Exhibition centre. With his hair long like ‘Storm In Heaven’ era of The Verve, that energy from Brixton hadn’t dissipated.
It doesn’t take long to see why either. Almost every song has been given a makeover. The spirit of Prince’s showman guitar style is at the heart of every riff and solo. ‘Break The Night With Colour’ becomes an funked up introspective masterclass meanwhile, ‘Music Is Power’ is given the full Curtis Mayfield treatment.
On the down tempo The Verve classics ‘Space and Time’ or ‘Velvet Morning’, the meditative guitars are heightened to a more glamourous sphere, but always retaining the respect to McCabe’s majesty.
It’s a remarkable achievement. No one was expecting this gear change. Lesser men, mortals, would have lost a crowd attempting something so bold. Not Ashcroft. With the poetry of Blake still coursing through him, he keeps his integrity and humbleness at the fore of every great lyric and vocal.
This gig is a firm reminder than nothing less striving for brilliance will do!
Friday 2nd August marks our 8th birthday. Come down to the New Cross Inn for a night of great live music. Tickets available here: