Ash - A to Z Tour, Panama Kings

Joe Coyle 04/11/2009

26 singles in a year? A large undertaking by anyone's standards. The A-Z tour is zigzagging across the U.K playing a multitude of strange venues. Tonight it hits the heady heights of Milton Keynes… in a sports centre!

Ash wander onstage to a greeting reserved for old friends who are pleased to see you again but aren't sure how much you have changed since they last saw you. The last time I saw Ash they were a four piece and now - minus Charlotte Hatherley - they are back to the original three piece. so there is a little trepidation of how the band will cope without her live. Theses fears are quickly put aside as the band launch into an old favourite in the form of Lose Control - and so continues the onslaught from a band who are on top form tonight.

As a three piece, its business as usual: Tim's outrageous guitar solos make a welcome reintroduction, Mark throws every clichéd bassist pose into the mix without becoming a cliché himself and Rick 'the rock' Mcmurray is, well, a rock behind the drums.

The crowd seem strangely subdued for the first couple of songs ,possibly because of the sterile atmosphere of the venue but they soon get into it and the pit becomes more and more animated as the gig goes on, in no small part due to the band playing hit after hit after hit. Shining Light, Goldfinger, Oh Yeah, Orpheus, mixed expertly with a few new tracks from the A-Z project, including the lead off single True Love 1980, which slips into the set list with ease as do Joy Kicks The Darkness, and Arcadia. The quality of the tracks bodes well for the rest of the A-Z project and then Ash finish with the now obligitatory closing track, Burn Baby Burn which almost literally burns the place down. Its hard to imagine another band with such a gold plated back catalogue tonight performing with expertise and exuberance which belies a band of their age. Tonight, A stands for Amazing Ash Are Astounding!