“That was the power, how can you ever take that away”


On the same day Richard Ashcroft released his latest Album “Acoustic Hymns Vol.1” featuring acoustic versions of some of his best-known songs and almost 25 years since The Verves iconic Urban Hymns was released, the man himself was playing at the M&S bank arena in Liverpool and “All Music’s” Warren Millar was there to catch the action.

As I make my way to Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena via the iconic Albert Dock, I’m sure just like myself the thousands of Ashcroft fans also making their way to the arena are hoping and wishing for the same thing, that he would play at least some of his Urban Hymn’s songs and without giving to much away Mr Ashcroft didn’t disappoint in that respect.

Entering the arena itself I was surprised to see the floor of the M&S Arena was fully seated, which to be honest didn’t last long as soon as the main man took to the stage everyone was on their feet singing and dancing.

There was no support tonight just a DJ and a deck on the front of the stage, then it was time for Richard Ashcroft to take to the stage accompanied by two guitarists, drummer, bass player and a five-piece orchestra (three violins, one cello and one double bass) and the cheers were deafening.



Richard in his now familiar sparkling jacket, jeans and black tea-shirt started off the show with “Sonnet” which didn’t quite go to plan with Richard stopping the song after a couple of seconds, walking back to his amplifier and then walking back to his microphone and saying with a cheeky grin “it would help if you turn your fuckin guitar on” 

The five-piece orchestra was a master stroke the addition of strings live really did so much to add to the atmosphere of the semi acoustic performance, it’s in so many of Richards recorded songs and the sound was spot on a highlight being “Weeping Willow” which was performed effortlessly.

During a break in between songs Richard alluded to the fierce rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester both in music and football but said “It’s the music that brings us all together as one”, this made the love in the room lifted to an even higher level, I didn’t think this was even possible.  

As he started playing “One Day” the lyric “You’ve gotta tie yourself to the mast my friend, and the storm will end” was resonating considering what we have all been through, and as the song finished, he poignantly dedicated it to all the people suffering at this time. Reinforcing that Richard Ashcroft is really a man of all the people.

“Break The Night” was another song that really also stood out for me on the night, it was performed with such real passion and expression at times he was down on his knees. The biggest cheers of the night came at the end of “The Drugs Don’t Work” with Richard telling the audience “That was the power, how can you ever take that away”.

That brought us to the Last song of the night and it was one of his biggest songs the amazing  “Lucky Man” which started almost as a solo with just Richard and his guitar but slowly built and built to an unbelievable finish as Richard and his band then left the stage with the crowd cheers and shouting desperate for more which they did get with in the form of an  encore of “Come On People”, “Music Is Power” and  to round off a fantastic night of classic Richard Ashcroft songs “Bittersweet Symphony”

Well, what a great night, walking back to my car through the great sights of the Liverpool waterfront and its iconic buildings and city scape it all came together, Iconic Music in an Iconic City …….. indeed, as the man himself said tonight

““That was the power, how can you ever take that away”



Set List

1/ Sonnet

2/ Out Of My Body

3/ Space And Time

4/ A Song For Lovers

5/ Weeping Willow

6/ One Day

7/ Break The Night

8/ Velvet Morning

9/ The Drugs Don’t Work

10/ Hold On

11/ Lucky Man


12/ Come On People

13/ Music Is Power

14/ Bittersweet Symphony