Photo Copyright © Stephen Farrell
Rescheduled from October, it’s no surprise that the Albert Hall in Manchester is packed out as local(ish) hero Richard Ashcroft returns home to treat his fans to one hell of a Christmas present two days before the big day.
It’s been twenty-one years since the Wigan lad and his band The Verve burst into the mainstream with their hit single Bittersweet Symphony and, throughout the years, the indie stars may have called it a day but their frontman has gone from being the pin-up frontman of one of the biggest indie bands of that generation into a fully-fledged star in his own rights. Even now at forty-seven years young, Ashcroft is the complete package.
As he swaggers out onto the stage, he shows he’s got the attitude, the look and, most importantly, a catalogue most of the indie scene would kill for. With fans new and old-school packed into the Albert Hall, Ashcroft treats them to a career-spanning thirteen song set packaging together a mix of songs from his days in The Verve with a raft of tracks from his solo career including Birds Fly and Surprised By The Joy from his 2018 offering Natural Rebel.
Of course anyone over a certain age was hanging out for the big hitters from back in the day so, come encore time, the Wigan songwriter gave them exactly the present they wanted with The Drugs Don’t Work and Bitter Sweet Symphony bringing this night to a perfect conclusion.