Legendary frontman Richard Ashcroft Brought the hits to Teatro Gran Rex.
Oh Richard you are so good, so good. You have it all, man! You are a great songwriter, you have an amazing voice and you exude that confidence on stage that you can't help but admire. Hats off to you, Mr Richard Ashcroft! Probably the best live act out there these days.
I've been a huge fan of Ashcroft's work ever since The Verve released their second record 'A Northern Soul', so when we shared the news he was playing Buenos Aires I just couldn't wait to get to his concerts in the city. First time ever for me and for many others. I was living in the UK back in '97 just after 'Urban Hymns' came out but could never ever get tickets when they first went on sale...they usually sold out within minutes or seconds, I'd say. (Oh those were the days when great bands topped the UK charts). I was at their Brixton Academy show in January 1998 but outside as I couldn't get tickets and buying from ticket touts was not a good choice either I must say. But well finally I got to see Richard Ashcroft and his band on Argentine soil twice in three days!!
On Monday (October 23rd), Teatro Gran Rex, one of Buenos Aires most important venues, played host to one of Britain's finest, Richard Ashcroft. For those who've never been to Buenos Aires and don't know Gran Rex, the theatre has a bit more than 3,000 seats and it is one of the city's most important and most beautiful venues for the staging of international shows. It was the dream venue to see Richard Ashcroft perform live and the place was packed to the rafters as we had all expected it to be.
Richard Ashcroft and his band walked on stage at around 9.15 pm, blue suit for him this time and gas mask around his neck just like his latest album cover 'These People'. Ashcroft was accompanied on stage by his new band and holding up his hands to the audience, he launched straight into 'Out Of My Body' song taken from his new studio album 'These People' with Richard gesticulating and dancing on stage the way only he can. What a fantastic perfomer he is, connecting immediately with the Argentine audience. Second song of the night was 'Sonnet' bringing back so many good memories of the good ol' days in 1997 when 'Urban Hymns' came out. The vibe in the crowd was fantastic and Ashcroft and the band on stage were clearly having a good time themselves, smiling and thanking for the crowd’s appreciation. 'Sonnet' was quickly followed by 'Break The Night With Colour' released as the first single from 'Keys to the World' in 2006. It was just before this track that someone in the crowd threw an Argentine shirt to him with the No.10 and his name on it. Ashcroft was the standout figure last Monday; the star of the night. 'They Don't Own Me' from 'These People', 'A Song for the Lovers' from 'Alone With Everybody' and 'This Is How It Feels' track also taken from his latest studio album 'These People' were some of the highlights of the night for sure.
With songs such as 'Science of Silence' and especially the anthemic 'The Drugs Don't Work' the atmosphere became increasingly emotional with some people in the crowd holding hands and joining in to sing the tune sounding like a large choir ... 'Now the drugs don't work, They just make you worse But I know I'll see your face again'. Each and every song he sang got a raucous cheer and all the sing-a-long from the Buenos Aires crowd with the usual football chants of 'Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé, Richard, Richard' .
I was looking at him at one moment and thought "when it comes to artists like Ashcroft, it doesn't really matter how long they stay away from the scene, does it?, whether it is two years or four or even six, their return will always feel the same way. And it felt Ashcroft had never been away. Richard truly is a natural." From Ashcroft's dance moves to his attitude and his amazing voice, he’s the total package when it comes to stage presence. He was like an unstoppable force on stage. Guess it is worth pointing out that the pacing of the set was really good playing different songs and changing the mood of the night every time he could. The audience roared their delight after every tune at the sight of the man who provided the soundtrack to the lives of many present there on Monday night (24/10). In a way and after a six-year absence the idea of even dreaming of seeing Ashcroft in Argentina seemed implausible let alone seeing him twice in three days!!!
Listening to all those fantastic songs from that tremendous third album 'Urban Hymns' was like a dream come true for sure. “The Drugs Don't work,” "Lucky man" ,“Bittersweet Symphony” show the importance of the record’s timelessness, and “Sonnet,” in particular for me, sounded as beautiful and melodic as ever energized by Ashcroft's amazing vocal delivery. It was astounding how good Richard Ashcroft sounded live both at the Festival and at Teatro Gran Rex. He owned the crowd from start to finish with a wave of his right hand.
Richard Ashcroft exuded confidence on stage on Monday night in Buenos Aires (24/10) bringing the curtain down with anthemic 'Bittersweet Symphony' standing with his arms wide open at the end, soaking up the applause and thanking his hardcore Argentine fans who'd been waiting for so long.
The crowd chanted for more and more, every single one of us loved it but as Ashcroft and the band left the stage, we all realised that this historic night had come to an end.
Read our exclusive interview with Richard Ashcroft HERE
Out of My Body
Break the Night With Colour
They Don't Own Me
A Song for the Lovers
This Is How It Feels
Music Is Power
Science of Silence
Space and Time
The Drugs Don't Work
Bitter Sweet Symphony
TXT: Daniel Rodríguez
PH: Pablo Astudillo