The star's got a ten-piece band, including his wife, behind him, just in case any of the crowd laugh at his new haircut...

RICHARD ASHCROFT began his first solo UK tour this weekend in MANCHESTER, following his low-key support slot at MADONNA’s LONDON BRIXTON ACADEMY gig last week.

Ashcroft played two sold-out dates at the Manchester Apollo. Last night (December 4), at his final gig there, the former Verve frontman took to the stage sporting a black leather jacket, sunglasses and a new shorter haircut.

He was supported by a ten-piece band, including a horn section, backing singers and wife Kate Radley on keyboards, a la the late Linda McCartney in Wings.


The set comprised: ‘Lucky Man’ ‘Brave New World’ ‘Space And Time’ ‘I Get My Beat’ ‘Sonnet’ ‘C’Mon People (We’re Making It Now)’ ‘On A Beach”You (On My Mind In My Sleep)’ ‘The Drugs Don’t Work”A Song For The Lovers’ ‘New York’

Ashcroft then returned to the stage for an encore of ‘History’ and ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, both made famous by Ashcroft’s former band The Verve.

During an acoustic version of ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, Ashcroft abandoned both his microphone and guitar to listen to fans singing before the rest of the band joined in to complete the song. Ashcroft will play another eight dates on the current UK tour before travelling to the US to play more concerts.

For tickets to the UK dates, go to the NME.COM Ticketshop – click here

Or call the NME 24-Hour Ticketline on 0870 1 663 663. Calls are charged at national standard rate.

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