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Wishbone Ash/Spirit - Hammersmith concert review - Kerrang, September 1989 by Paul Henderson

Whether either of these bands like it or not, their appeal is largely in the nostalgia market, but by Wishbone Ash’s understandable desire to also be a ‘now’ band they put themselves in the tricky position of playing a set that is divided into two distinct groups.


Unlike many bands of their era, Wishbone Ash still play with as much effort and conviction as they did in their 70’s heyday, and in terms of musicianship they are probably as good as ever.  Thus, even though songs like ‘Throw Down The Sword’ and ‘Blowin’ Free’ may be old, they still bristled with some excellent guitar work and they’re a band still worth watching.


The same level of musicianship and effort was evident in their newer material, with plenty of twin guitar harmony playing – Ash’s trademark before the rest started doing it – and Ted Turner’s slide guitar work at times admirable.  But the simple fact is the newer stuff was shapeless, meandering and weak by comparison.


Before Wishbone Ash, Spirit did try a ‘hits’ package and still failed miserably.  Good though some of their songs might have been in their day, they haven’t stood up to the ravages of time as well.  Even so, a spirited (coo, a pun!) performance might have given a few minutes of life back to the likes of ‘Fresh Garbage’, ‘Nature’s Way’ and ‘I Got A Line On You’.  But instead they killed them off for good, one by one, with a quite staggeringly dull and lifeless performance that was far more wooden than most band’s soundchecks.


And then…they get massive applause and loud calls for an encore!!


Well, that’s the power of nostalgia for you.

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