The Verve make triumphant live return

First show for nine years features classics, rarities and one new song

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The Verve played their first show in almost a decade tonight (November 2) at Glasgow Academy.

The gig saw the original line-up of Richard Ashcroft, Nick McCabe, Simon Jones and Pete Salisbury onstage together for the first time since May 1998, when they played Haigh Hall, Wigan.

During a 90-minute performance, the band, who reformed in June 2007, stormed through a 17-song set that included classics such as 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' and 'The Drugs Don't Work', as well as one genuine rarity in the shape of 'This Is Music' B-side, 'Let The Damage Begin'.

There was no support act, and instead DJs played ahead of the hugely in-demand show - with tickets trading on online auction sites for £250 a pair before the gig.

The band took to the stage to the strains of 1960s maverick David Axelrod's 'Holy Are You' (a track that frontman Richard Ashcroft re-recorded with the composer), alongside a screen flashing up images that included Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and comedy character Reginald Perrin, as well as snippets of the band's lyrics.

As the band strode on, the shamanic Ashcroft moved to the mic
and announced, "This is music!" to cacophonous yelps, introducing their single of the same name.

It was a night that saw little said from the stage. At one point Ashcroft announced simply that it was great to be back in
Glasgow after nine years, although physically The Verve
looked to have changed little.

Any thoughts that animosity lingered between Ashcroft and his foil Nick McCabe were extinguished early on when, in a simple gesture, the frontman urged the crowd to applaud the guitarist during his first solo of the night.

The band also unveiled one new song. Seven tracks into the gig Ashcroft announced, "We're gonna try something new here", then apologised for singing from a sheet of paper.

Entitled 'Sit And Wonder', the new song was driven by a
rumbling bassline, and was reminiscent of The Stone Roses second album. Lyrics included: "I should have warned her/I'd fall to pieces".

The band were also making spontaneous changes during the performance.

At one point Ashcroft, McCabe and Jones huddled together at the left of the stage, before deviating from the planned setlist and unveiling a storming version of the title track from second album 'A Northern Soul'.

Conversely, new song 'Appalachian Springs' and classics 'Gravity Grave' and 'History' were on the pre-printed setlist, but were left out.

The Verve finished their set with a massive 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' before returning for a three track encore, that began with a spellbinding version of fan favourite 'Man Called Sun'.

The band play the same venue tomorrow (November 3) before heading to Blackpool Empress Ballroom (November 5, 6) and London Roundhouse (November 8, 9).

They then embark upon a sold-out arena tour in December.

The Verve played:

'This is Music'
'Sonnet'
'All In The Mind'
'Weeping Willow'
'Life's An Ocean'
'Space And Time'
'Sit And Wonder' (New Song)
'Velvet Morning'
'Already There'
'Let The Damage Begin'
'A Northern Soul'
'The Drugs Don't Work'
'The Rolling People'
'Bitter Sweet Symphony'
'Man Called Sun'
'Lucky Man'
'Come On'


Did you go to the gig? What did you think? Alternatively, what are your feelings on The Verve's return? Send your thoughts to news@nme.com with verve as the subject and we'll publish the best.

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