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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews

Wishbone Ash

Live in Portland, Oregon, March 2013

Review by Larry Toering

After fifty dates on the US road, Wishbone Ash returned to Portland to play their final show of the tour. Luckily enough for the enthusiastic crowd, they delivered a pumped performance I will never forget. It was that good, and I love it when music rubs off on a crowd this way, rather than some of the completely out of control crowds at heavier rock concerts I'm seeing these days. That alone made it so easy to enjoy the show. It was like butter while covering this one. They really are a treat to witness, and this was everything I'd hoped for and more. What a great band they are, full of top players, as the twin lead attack was brilliant, but all four equally shone on that stage, with good elbow room to spotlight each of them.

The set started off with the group running through the classic Argus LP. I was expecting it to be an experience to behold, but was glad to see it exceed my expectations – and then some. Each song was delivered with pure abandon, as where I thought the case might be somewhat less spectacular and vibrant that way. Boy, was I wrong, it sounded fresh, as if they had just recorded it or something. The music had so much room to breathe, that it was amazing what they did with it. I seriously haven't enjoyed myself this much in quite a while that I can recall, and I get out a lot to shows. In fact, I see so many that it tends to blur sometimes, but this was on another level, that of which was crystal clear. And that just made it all the more exciting to take in.

Larry Toering
Larry Toering

After that awesome showing it was intermission time, which included a meet and greet that ran very comfortably for such a thing with what seemed like precision timing. Yet, everyone pretty much had a chance to mingle with them, get autographs, shake hands and have a few words telling stories and whatnot. This was really a nice touch in the days of these things usually resulting in over priced, stuffy VIP tickets. So, it was quite an added bonus to get this in-between sets. And something I noticed about Andy Powell's leadership was not to be forgotten, as well. He really is a professional who goes out of his way to make sure the crowd gives equal attention to his – as he called them – “compatriots.” And I could not appreciate the whole more than I walked away doing.

Larry Toering
Larry Toering

After the intermission they treated the crowd to some newer stuff from their latest record and more classics. It was so good and surprisingly contemporary that I almost thought for a minute I was at an Alice In Chains concert, oddly enough as that might seem. The first couple of tracks in particular were of the seriously cutting edge variety, with that little but somehow big, alternative rock vibe. It was this part of the show where the chops of both brilliant guitarists really came alive, and the solos by everyone in the band were second to none. I loved the bass solo in particular, as well. It was awesome, and moved the crowd at all times. The whole night was nothing but a first class showing of their remarkable, if rather largely neglected talents. You don't run across such first class masters every day, so if you haven't seen them (or if you have), they come highly recommended.

Larry Toering
Larry Toering
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 2 at
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