Richard Ashcroft took the stage at the picturesque Dalby Forest last night, transporting the audience back to the glory days of Britpop with a setlist heavy on The Verve classics. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the forest, Ashcroft delivered a powerful and emotionally charged performance that resonated deeply with fans.

The evening opened with “Space and Time,” a soaring Verve anthem that set the tone for a night of nostalgic singalongs. Ashcroft’s voice, while perhaps not possessing the youthful exuberance of his early days, retained its raw power and soulful edge. Tracks like “Sonnet” and “Lucky Man” (performed twice for good measure) were delivered with a captivating intensity, reminding the audience of The Verve’s enduring influence.

Tom Smith photo copyright © Jo Forrest

A welcome surprise came in the form of “Buy It in Bottles,” a Verve deep cut not heard live since 2003. This unexpected gem offered a taste of the band’s lesser-known treasures, while “Music Is Power” showcased Ashcroft’s solo songwriting prowess.

Supporting act Tom Smith, Has already played a ton of gigs throughout the last few years, including supporting Courteeners, Miles Kane, Martha Hill, Vistas, Blondes, The Pale White, Eliza and The Bear, Gang of Youths, and Sunset Sons, as well as shows at The Great Escape and Neighbourhood Weekender. Apollo Junction, a rising Yorkshire indie rock band, delivered a solid set, their energetic performance hinting at the exciting future of the genre.

Apollo Junction photo copyright © Jo Forrest

The highlight of the night undoubtedly came during the encore. As the opening chords of “Bitter Sweet Symphony” rang out, the forest erupted in cheers. Ashcroft’s iconic vocals soared effortlessly, and the crowd sang along in unison, creating a truly magical moment of shared musical experience.

Richard Ashcroft’s performance at Dalby Forest was a celebration of Britpop’s legacy. While the focus on The Verve’s material might have left some solo fans wanting more, the raw emotion and undeniable classics delivered a powerful and nostalgic experience. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the forest, the concert served as a testament to the enduring power of music to connect and transport us.

Richard Ashcroft photo copyright © Jo Forrest

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