26 May 2000

Toronto's secret gig

Richard made his first solo live appearance last night at a secret gig in Toronto, Canada.

This was the first time Richard has played a show since The Verve's farewell appearance in front of 100,000 people at Slane Castle, Ireland in August 1998 and it came in front of just 100 people at a club called Ted's Wrecking Yard at 6.30pm on Thursday 18th May 2000.

The atmosphere in the tiny upstairs room had reached fever pitch by the time Ashcroft took to the stage which was lit only by a couple of candles and a few little lamps. The audience, made up of a mixture of competition winners, media and in-the know Toronto scenesters all sported a special laminated pass showing the sleeve from the forthcoming "Alone With Everybody" LP that acted as a ticket for the gig.

Performing alone, Richard played 6 songs in total, 5 from the new album and an acoustic version of "Bittersweet Symphony."

The full set list was as follows:
  1. A Song For The Lovers
  2. Bittersweet Symphony
  3. You On My Mind In My Sleep
  4. On A Beach
  5. Money To Burn
  6. Get My Beat
The gig was an opportunity to hear the songs from the new LP in their barest form, with just the vocal and guitar. "A Song For The Lovers" kicked it all off with it's already instant familiarity, and after the crowdpleasing "Bittersweet" an aching "You On My Mind In My Sleep" was a warm, devotional country-soul ballad . A frazzled, electric "On A Beach" followed, before an acoustic version of forthcoming single "Money To Burn" that grew and grew to the most emphatic response of the evening. The set closed with "Get My Beat" which sounds on this evidence like a big, warm Smokey Robinson type tune with hooks all over the place. There was no encore.

Richard is in America and Canada on a round of promotion for the "Alone With Everybody" LP which comes out on June 27th.