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Wishbone Ash - 30th Anniversary Concert (DVD) CD (album) cover


Wishbone Ash


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3.13 | 11 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars The band is introduced by an announcer saying, among other things, that the music of Wishbone Ash is what he would like to call "straight rock". For the prog fan this kind of gives it away already before the band has walked on stage. However, despite immediate appearances there are some clear progressive moments on this concert DVD.

The band opens with the instrumental Real Guitars Have Wings. A great way to open a concert! This is followed by the great classic The King Will Come. After that we are treated to the excellent funk prog instrumental F.U.B.B. from the underrated There's The Rub album. The guitar work on these songs is just great, and the bass and drums are excellent as well. I would say that these versions outshine the original studio versions of these songs.

After these three hard rocking songs there is an acoustic set that opens with Wings Of Desire from the Strange Affair album. Strangely, this song is not listed on the box. The acoustic set also contains a version of Ballad Of The Beacon featuring accordion and violin. Errors Of My Way is given a similar treatment. The presence of these additional instruments really enhances these songs and they are much to be preferred over the original versions in my opinion. The vocals are surprisingly strong.

Next up is the rocker No Joke from the Illuminations album. It is a good song, but in my opinion one of the least good ones from that great album. I would rather have heard Mountainside or Tales Of The Wise instead. But the guitar work on the final part of the song is very good.

Strange Affair and Living Proof I find too generic and traditional blues rockers, nothing special about them really, certainly nothing progressive anyway. Ex-member Laurie Wisefield guests on the latter. Claire Hamill also guests here, adding some backing vocals. Wisefield stays for Blowin' Free, a song I never found too impressive in the first place. At this point in the concert you begin to wonder whether they will be able to regain the momentum of the opening salvo. They do!

Phoenix. An epic classic masterpiece song - and this particular performance is excellent! I cannot take this one sitting down!

Hamill and Wisefield returns for the encore which consist in Come In From The Rain and Hard Times. These choices make for a quite anticlimactic ending to the show since the first one is a rather straightforward bluesy rock 'n' roll number and the latter is as well, but it is given an acoustic treatment with violin, accordion, piano, harmonica and female backup vocals. All instruments are allowed to solo. Unusual and surprising though it is for Wishbone Ash to do this, it is hardly progressive or even very original.

Everything is delivered perfectly and this is a good product. Real Guitars Have Wings, The King Will Come, F.U.B.B. and Phoenix are all excellent and the enhanced acoustic versions of Wings Of Desire, Ballad Of The Beacon and Errors Of My Way outshine their original studio versions. The band seem to have fun on stage and they feel younger and more energized (much thanks to young blood in the band) than many other classic bands still around.

Still, because of some rather generic songs I cannot give this four stars. But its almost there.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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