1 5 mins 9 mths

An unusual acceptance to cover the show at Huntingdon Hall, having the press along, particularly photographers, is not usually their thing. I’m glad they made an exception!

Early entry meant I could look around for places to photograph from even with the knowledge that the large majority of images would be taken from the back of the hall, behind the audience. That said, I did manage to eke out a couple of alternative spots with the agreement of the Huntingdon Hall manager, Sarah Czyrko.

No support band tonight but Martin, along with Danny Willson, Misha Nikolic and [new kid on the block] Sonny Flint, put on 2 x 50minute sets to entertain the decent, all-seated, crowd. This tour was to celebrate another 50 year milestone, this time for the release of the Live Dates double album, released in 1973.

The entire Live Dates album was played with all the right songs just not in the right order, plus a few extras over the two sets.

Songs from one of my all-time favourite albums, Argus, kicked off the evening as the band opened with The King Will Come, Warrior and then Throw Down the Sword. For someone who had played, allegedly, less than 50 shows with the band, Sonny Flint has fitted in superbly well, having taken over drum duties from tea-drinker Tim Brown. Martin Turner had his trusty, but battered, white-ish Gibson Thunderbird in hand (and if you haven’t heard of the origins of this piece of kit feel free to ask me), and the dual guitars of Misha Nikolic and Danny Willson battle things out quite admirably – a cracking combination.

Plenty of chit-chat and story-telling between songs, Martin Turner does have some interesting tales to tell – I know because I interviewed him once upon a time and the 20 minute slot I was given turned into nearly an hour and three quarters of stories from his time on the road.

Moving on, we had Rock’n’Roll Widow followed by Ballad of the Beacon then Baby, What You Want me to Do? – a cover of a Jimmy Read song. The first set closes with Phoenix.

It was good to see, and hear, Danny Willson taking on more of the vocals and the fact that he looks remarkably like Ted Turner and Andy Powell (allegedly) helped matters along. Danny does have a good singing voice and it fits in very well alongside Martin Turner’s vocals.

After a short break the second half opens with more stories before the band get into Lady Whiskey taken from the band’s first, self-titled, album. The Pilgrim, from Pilgrimage, came next before the band diverge from the Live Dates album to give us FUBB, You See Red, written by Laurie Wisefield, and Living Proof. The shorter second set closes with Blowin’ Free.

Do we have time for an encore – of course we do!

The band finish the evening with Doctor and then Jailbait, crowd favourites which do include yet more stories.

Part of the setlist tonight included a couple of songs written when the band were known as The Empty Vessels (aka MT Vessels – geddit?), one of several names adopted before Wishbone Ash was taken on, a nice throwback to Martin’s very early days.

A smashing night’s music, in a fairly intimate venue, with Martin, Danny, Misha and Sonny all on top form – what’s not to like?! Danny and Misha, in particular, trade places and funny faces, as well as hit the twin lead guitar notes, without fault.  Great fun and a great night’s entertainment, as usual. Here’s to the next 50 years 😉

Setlists:

Set 1.

The King Will Come

Warrior

Throw Down the Sword

Rock & Roll Widow

Ballad of the Beacon

Babay What You Want Me To Do

Phoenix

Set 2.

Lady Whiskey

The Pilgrim

FUBB

You See Red

Living Proof

Blowin’ Free

Encore.

Doctor

Jail Bait

Words & images: Reg Richardson

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