Thursday, November 6, 1997

Fan Review: Irving Plaza 1997

Irving Plaza
New York, NY
November 6, 1997

IT'S BEEN FIVE YEARS THAT I'VE WANTED TO SEE THE VERVE LIVE AND DESPITE THE HIGH EXPECTATIONS I MUST SAY THAT I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED at all. SEEING THE VERVE LIVE is an experience which indicates that rock starts and ends with this momentous band.

I was very surprised with the composition of the crowd, which ranged from the young, mother and daughter, oldish and even yuppyish especially given the fact that to get a ticket you either had to be quick or generous. There seemed to be no casual onlookers around, most of the people, I was relieved, were invariably familiar with Verve material some even repeating the experience of the night before and hyping the atmosphere even more before the show.

Pre-concert atmosphere was very cool with a slow paced slide show (with messages like "there would be no rules without rule breakers" and the like) and very cool music which I would be very interested to find out what it was (I recognized Trainspotting and some Electric Prunes). This music was a perfect backdrop for the tension/anticipation that was slowly accumulating. And at 9.30 the PA stopped playing music and the greatest band in the world came out and immediately without even them starting a song it became apparent that these guys have a lot of confidence, that they are on a road that has no return. You could tell that these sort of gigs are stepping stones to something bigger. Much bigger. And Richard..has the aura of a man who is doing exactly what he was brought in this world to do. Which makes him a lucky man.

First song was "A New Decade" and then "This is Music". Richard lit a joint on the first song gave us the middle finger and claimed that he lost his voice from the previous night but it seemed pretty damn good to me. He dedicated these songs to "any fucker that bought A Northern Soul". And we all know that Urban Hymns will make the band huge but ANS was the Verve at its most raw, effective and emotional. From then on I don't remember the exact sequence of songs only that no songs from A Storm in Heaven were played. It was amazing: On Your Own, Drugs Don't Work (terrific), catching the buttery, a fantastic merging of Stormy Clouds and reprise of Brainstorm Interlude from ANS, A Man Called Sun, Sonnet, The Rolling People, Weeping Willow, Life's an Ocean and most perfect of all History. The encore included Bittersweet Symphony (live I found it missed something), Lucky Man and of course the orgasmic Come On in which Richard lead the crowd on to a frenzy with his Dionysian dancing and taunting of the front row. End. In essence I feel great to have seen a great band at its most humble, raw and most earnest before they got too big and who knows what they will become.
  • Source: Verve-Tribute: A tribute to what was website
  • Review by Oceania