Richard Ashcroft makes live return

He mixes up old classics and newies at the intimate show

Richard Ashcroft made his live return last night (December 7) with an intimate show at King’s College, London in front of just 600 fans.

Playing his first show in the capital for three years, the revitalised ex-Verve frontman treated the crowd to a host of his old band’s classics including ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ and ‘History’, plus a selection of songs from his forthcoming new album ‘Keys To The World’.

The singer, backed by a five-piece band (now not featuring, as on previous tours, wife Kate Radley on keyboards), dedicated the opening ‘Lucky Man’ to “Georgie [Best] – a very lucky man indeed”.

Before new song ‘Words Get In The Way’ he told the crowd, “Lots of rude things have been said about me and my music in the past, but you’ve all stuck with me and given me self-belief and confidence, and I want to pay you back with songs like this”.

Following a two-song solo acoustic interlude, the band returned to the stage for new single ‘Break The Night With Colour’ before launching into a climatic, eight-minute version of ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, dedicated by Ashcroft to his drummer (and original Verve member) Pete Salisbury, saying, “Pete saw Live 8 and thought, ‘How come Coldplay get to play ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ when I haven’t played it for six years?’, so we’re gonna do it now.”

Richard Ashcroft played the following set:

‘Lucky Man’

‘Nature Is The Law’

‘Sonnet’

‘Keys To The World’

‘Music Is Power’

‘New York’

‘Sweet Brother Malcolm’

‘Words Just Get in The Way’

‘Science Of Silence’

‘A Song For The Lovers’

‘The Drugs Don’t Work’

‘Why Not Nothing?’

‘On Your Own (acoustic)’

‘History (acoustic)’

‘Break The Night With Colour’

‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’

Ashcroft will now embark on a short tour early next year in support of his new album ‘Keys To The World’, which is released on January 23.

The dates are:

Glasgow ABC (January 20)

Gateshead The Sage (January 21)

Preston Guildhall (January 22)

London Electric Ballroom (January 24-26)

For ticket availability, go to NME Tickets or call them on 0870 1 663 663.