The return of the century of Wigan’s biggest superstars started close to home at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool. The very first performance in 8 years of the Verve was almost to perfection.
Entering the venue, stepping in from the harsh cold outside, it seemed like we’d stepped into some American style movie premiere, hot dogs for sale and ridiculously over priced merchandise, and the distinct air of excitement. However, walking into the ballroom anticipation was rife. A DJ playing songs that no one had heard but didn’t mind listening to, fitted the arty images and slogans showing on the stage screens.
The lights go down, the DJ leaves the stage and the atmosphere intensifies, it sounds like something from a horror movie but in fact it was amazingly intense. The band enters the stage and front man Richard Ashcroft says just three words before going into their first song “This Is Music”. The set was almost one song off perfect, playing all the old songs including “Gravity Grave”, “History”, “Man Called Sun” and “Too Much Emotion”.
Salisbury, Jones, Stevens and Ashcroft really pulled the comeback off brilliantly; the most moving song by far was “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, which despite the lack of presence of a stringed orchestra, was simply astounding.
It was a very emotional gig, many strangers turning to embrace the person next to them, so thankfully after playing some of their chart topping hits they returned for an encore, playing more favourites, and “Lucky Man”, and it seemed that they’d had as much fun playing as the audience had had watching them.
Of course, the comeback comes with a warning: new album out in 2008 and you can bet it won’t be as good as the others.