At The Carling Academy, Newcastle, U.K., October 29, 2007

Wishbone Ash have been around longer than most having released their first self-titled album in 1970 yet, when commentators discuss the most influential bands of that era, Wishbone Ash tend to get passed over in favor of the Zeppelin/Purple/Sabbath triumvirate. However, to overlook their impact on the development of Hard Rock music would be a grave injustice to their overall contribution, none more so than with the twin guitar harmonies pioneered by Andy Powell and Ted Turner, which have become such an integral part of the genre and adopted so successfully by the likes of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden.

Their line-up may have changed more times over the years than Madonna changes outfits during a show, but mainman, singer, and lead guitarist Andy Powell has kept the band alive and thriving, working hard with extensive touring and regularly releasing new material. With the end of 2007 in sight, it was time for Wishbone Ash to hit the road once again this time in support of their new album Power Of Eternity, which was due for release during the tour.

wishboneash With his trademark Flying V in hand, Powell and his band hit the stage and delivered 90 minutes of highly melodic, classy Hard Rock covering all periods of Wishbone Ash’s long career from the evergreen “King Will Come,” which displayed a great sense of dynamics and harmonies through to the material from their brand new album including the riff laden “The Power,” a song that fits in well with the Wishbone Ash legacy and certainly shows there’s plenty of life still left in them.

Andy Powell, who looks remarkably like the ex-Manchester United and French international goalkeeper, Fabien Barthez, a comparison he will surely relish bearing in mind Barthez’s connections with supermodel Linda Evangelista; shows class and maturity throughout the show. He may not have the flash and flamboyance of a Malmsteen or Satriani, but his grasp of melody and ability to craft an uplifting atmosphere is impeccable and brings to mind such luminaries as Blue Oyster Cult’s Buck Dharma and Mark Knopfler at their most tuneful. “Way Of The World Part 1” from 1978’s No Smoke Without Fire album demonstrates his ability to deliver light and shade with a stirring melody line and a superb fast-paced climax featuring a thrilling guitar dual with impressive fellow axe-meister Muddy Mannien complete with plenty of Michael Schenker-esque poses.

wishboneash The classic “Phoenix” too provided a platform to keep any guitar loving fiend more than happy with Powell and Mannien again soaring and trading licks utilizing their signature harmonies to their full effect.

Wishbone Ash have always had a reputation as a top live act and their shows continue to draw impressive audiences. On this showing, it’s easy to see why. A collection of quality songs and excellent musicianship ensured that everyone returned home more than happy. If you haven’t had the opportunity to catch this band live yet, make sure you put that right on their next tour, which will undoubtedly appear in a venue near you very soon.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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