July 13, 2008 0:18

The Verve brand UN a 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' over Zimbabwe

Richard Ashcroft also blasts football 'slave' Ronaldo at Oxegen

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Photo Gallery: The Verve

The Verve have brought the second day (July 12) of Oxegen 2008 to a close, with a headline performance on the Main Stage.

The set saw frontman Richard Ashcroft speaking out about Zimbabwe, following yesterday's veto of United Nation sanctions against Robert Mugabe's regime.

He also took aim at FIFA president Sepp Blatter's recent claims that modern footballers like Christianaldo Ronaldo are "slaves".

The Wigan band kicked things off at the Irish festival with 'This Is Music', before playing a set that mixed their three existing records, with two songs from impending comeback album 'Forth'.

With frontman Ashcroft introducing each song, the Irish crowd got their first taste of the new material four songs in with 'Sit And Wonder'.

"I tell you what if that R.E.M band put the work in they could be huge," joked Ashcroft as he introduced the new track, referring to the fact The Verve had topped the bill over the veterans.

Following the likes of 'History' and 'Velvet Morning', Ashcroft informed the crowd: "The dressing rooms are dead good, they've got pictures of the jockeys and the champions on the walls [the site is usually a racecourse]. The funny thing is all the trainers have got all the same name over here. I guess if you've got the look... Anyway this if for Tony Soprano, Tony Montana and all 'The Rolling People'."

Following the song, the band built up towards the set's climax with 'The Drugs Don't Work'.

However, it was 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' that enjoyed the loudest crowd vocals of the night, although Ashcroft ensured the track lived up to its name with an acerbic intro.

"Shame on the United Nations, shame on the United Nations, the people of Zimbabwe need you," he called out over the intro, before attacking Manchester United's winger. "Ronaldo, you're not a fucking slave, £120,000 a week?"

Barely pausing from the outro of the band's 1997 anthem, The Verve blitzed straight into brand new single 'Love Is Noise', bringing the second day of Oxegen 2008 to a close.

The Verve played:

'This Is Music'
'Sonnet'
'Space And Time'
'Sit And Wonder'
'History'
'Life's An Ocean'
'Velvet Morning'
'The Rolling People'
'The Drugs Don't Work'
'Lucky Man'
'Bitter Sweet Symphony'
'Love Is Noise'


Keep up with all the action from T In The Park and Oxegen Festival this weekend (July 11-13) as it happens on NME.COM.

For news, pictures and blogs keep checking the NME.COM's T In The Park and Oxegen pages. Plus make sure you get next week's issue of NME - on UK newsstands from July 16 - for the ultimate T In The Park and Oxegen Festival review.

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