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LIVE DATES 3

Wishbone Ash

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mystic fred
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 2001 - Ash's third live "double" set if it were on vinyl, but in CD land everything's together and tidy, so how have the band changed up to this moment in time? Extremely well it appears, a new line-up with original member Andy Powell at the helm aided by Mark Birch on vocals and guitars, Bob Skeat on bass and Ray Weston on drums, three of these members are still in today's current line-up.

A much better live set this time, with many more old live favourites included, and with some excellent playing, duelling solos with even better sound quality on "Living Proof" and "Lifeline" from "Just Testing, and especially "Persephone" from "There's the Rub", "F.U.B.B." (F***** Up Beyond Belief) from "Wishbone 4", "Come in From the Rain" from "Front Page News" , "Wings of Desire" from "Strange Affair" and old classic favourites "Errors of my Ways" and "Phoenix" from the first album, and "Leaf and Stream/Throw Down the Sword" from "Argus".

Overall a much fresher effort than "Live Dates 2" , but no "date" palms on the sleeve! (maybe just). With the line up on this album but with Bob Granfelt replacing Mark Birch the group went on to record the excellent studio album "Bona Fide", a very strong set of songs, some of which are covered on the "London and Beyond" CD/SACD released in 2004.

Better than "Live Dates 2" but not essential, deserves 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#98434)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A tribute to the glory days

"Live dates 3" consists entirely of tracks recorded in October 1999 while Wishbone Ash were touring France. My first thoughts were probably the same as yours, do we really need another Wishbone Ash album? Well, after listening to these recordings, the answer is undoubtedly yes. Firstly, this album comes almost 20 years after the "Live dates 2" set; secondly, the set list is superb; and thirdly, the sound is excellent.

The line up here will be unfamiliar to most early fans of the band, with only Andy Powell from the original line up remaining. He is joined by second guitarist Mark Birch, the band being completed by bassist Bob Skeat and drummer Ray Weston. The songs are taken from a broad spectrum of albums including a couple each from the Laurie Wisefield era recordings "There's the rub" and "Just testing". "Wings of desire" is the newest song, dating from the 1991 album "Strange affair". The song fits in with its peers well though, demonstrating how the band has maintained both quality and their unique style throughout their career.

It is the old songs which are of course the favourites. Here we have "Error of my ways" and the sublime" Phoenix" from the first album plus "Leaf and stream" and "Throw down the sword" from "Argus". The "Argus" songs sound as fresh and inspired as ever, "Leaf and stream", which does not feature on the previous "Live dates" albums, being something of a lost gem. I always feel "Throw down the sword" does nor sound quite right when it is not preceded by "Warrior", but the rendition here is superb nonetheless. The 14 minute performance of "Phoenix" inevitably has some wonderful guitar work, Mark Birch playing his part with an assured confidence.

The recordings here show no significant deviations from their studio counterparts, although they do benefit form years of development in the live arena. The line up may appear to be largely a tribute act to the band's glory days, but Andy Powell keeps them honest, and gives these performances sufficient authenticity to make this a fine acquisition for fans of the band.

Report this review (#131646)
Posted Saturday, August 4, 2007 | Review Permalink

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