Live Review – Richard Ashcroft
Albert Hall Manchester – 14/05/16

As I walked into the Albert Hall at about 7.45 it was very quiet indeed, the support DJ playing what seemed for himself some obscure psychedelic tunes to be cool rather than please the crowd and build the atmosphere until the opening bell for the first round.
After half hour or so the beautiful stained glass church hall was filling nicely, drinks flowing people smiling and dancing along to Roxy Music and the Happy Mondays ‘Hallelujah’.
The music lowered lights down Ashcroft’s band hit the stage, whilst every one awaits the return of mad Richard in anticipation, the applause and scream thunders leaving a slim shadow behind the lead vocal mic in the centre of the stage.
Lights up and there he is , three piece suit on , blue mirror aviator sunglasses on arms stretched out and a gas mask round his neck. He basks in the love being offered up from a now packed auditorium before launching into new song ‘Out Of My Body’.

You can feel how much it means for Richard to being back on that stage fighting at times with his own demons to deliver his message, (at times he shadow boxes as if fighting an invisible foe).
During the set he plays classics such Sonnet, Drugs Don’t Work, Lucky Man, Keys to the World, Break the Night with Colour, Space and Time to name a few.
The gig as a whole was very emotional as watching someone coming back from the abyss to win his opening fight was a sight to behold, during ‘Music is Power’ he thanked ‘the Stone Roses’, ‘The Smiths’, and the time he took acid and Shaun Ryder’s voice turned into the devil he still thanked the Happy Mondays.
There was a nice touch in saying Justice for the 96, it felt as if anything was possible listening to him sing note perfect for two hours.
Encore and costume change for collaboration with UNKLE – Lonely Soul before a grand finale of BSS strings rang out over the PA. ‘Thanks for making this one of the best nights of my life, Manchester forever, forever’.
Go and see this for yourselves to believe what I am saying, he has his haters but for me I’m glad he’s back and can’t wait to hear the album in full.

Adam Jay

These People released 20th may 2016.


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