Life is full of surprises. I had settled down at home for the evening yesterday, reading the local newspaper, when right on the very last page I spotted a note:
The celebrated power and melody of rock foursome Wishbone Ash can be heard in Kendal tonight (Thursday).
I couldn’t believe it. Not the Wishbone Ash? This was one of my all time favourite bands in my student days. I never managed to see them live, but I have this tradition that any time I upgrade my hi-fi system, the first thing I do is to give their album Argus a blast to see if the money has been well spent (I originally bought it as an audio cassette – remember those?)
Of course, I had to go. Never in my wildest imagination did I expect to hear this one time mega-band play here in Kendal. I haven’t been to a rock concert in decades, and I had to look up Bootlegger’s website to check out where they were.
So, here I am, 18 hours later, with just a residual buzzing in my ears when it’s quiet to remind me of the experience. Yes, there’s only one member of the original band left, but it’s Andy Powell, guitar and vocals – arguably the hardest part of a band’s sound to replace. The only anachronistic member was the drummer, who looks as though he wasn’t born when Wishbone Ash were in their heyday.
And I suppose that sums up the experience. Andy made a comment along the lines that it’s hard to select material for a concert when you’ve four decades to choose from, but there’s no doubt what the predominantly middle aged audience was there to hear. Andy introduced one of the classic tracks with the words: “Here’s one we recorded in 1972″ … you could see the fans doing the arithmetic – yes, that was 41 years ago.
Don’t believe them – nostalgia is what it used to be – and some. Guys, thanks for a great evening. I look forward to hearing you next time you’re in Kendal – even if you’re using your bus passes to get here.