A R T I C L E S
a n d I N T E R V I E W S
Croydon concert review - Melody Maker, October 1976 by Harry Doherty
Hail To The Exiles
After witnessing the ease with which Wishbone Ash scored a resounding victory on Sunday night, it was hard to believe that we’d just seen a band that hadn’t played in Britain in two years and that has more or less been regarded as fallen idols since their departure.
Ash played with a vigour and confidence that totally wiped out the memory of the lean years. It was as if, four years later, they’d just begun to feed off the success and inspiration of their acclaimed Argus album. Although the early part of the set was a little tedious, once Ash had proved their virtuosity and stepped the tempo up, there was no way that they were going to fall.
The two guitarists, Andy Powell and Laurie Wisefield, tossed about solos and dual lead runs with a vengeance, and the success of this gig was certainly down to their performances on the night. Wisefield is the man who, two years ago, had the unenviable task of taking over from original guitarist Ted Turner and, judging from his playing on Sunday, his arrival in Ash and their subsequent fall from grace is mere coincidence.
Powell was full of confidence, smug occasionally, as if to say “we told you we were still good.” Wisefield and Powell proved most of all that Wishbone Ash is still primarily a guitarists’ band, with everything else woven into that fabric.
The songs need not necessarily be exceptional when two players of their calibre are around to carry them. I’d been told that the band were weak on vocals but saw no evidence in that in the voice of bass player Martin Turner, although he depended a little too much for his sound on the echo chamber of the mixing desk.
But I can’t understand why Andy Powell didn’t take more of the vocals, he was superb on the encore ‘Bad Weather Blues’. Turner and drummer Steve Upton, the founder members of Ash, were an excellent rhythm section.
It was significant that the material played from the last two albums, There’s The Rub and Locked In was sparse; as significant as the fact that the songs from the new album New England, with ‘(In All of My Dreams) You Rescue Me’ and ‘Lorelei’ best, stood up well against the material used from Argus. If Sunday night in Croydon is anything to go on, Wishbone Ash have recuperated.