Concert Review: The Verve, May 1st, Ricoh Coliseum

Toronto – What a night to be an ex-pat, it was rainy and miserable, there was a proper football match going on and the Verve were playing a concert .. all you needed was a couple fights and more people with poor dental hygiene and it’d be a lil slice of London heaven. I of course, am not an ex-pat, so I swore at the weather and marveled at all the blokes that accumulated outside Ricoh Coliseum on Thursday night. Where do these people come from? I rarely come across someone with an English accent on a regular basis and yet anytime some English band comes for the concert, they come out in droves. It’s amazing.

So The Verve was in town on Thursday night, after a decade long absence from Toronto. I can’t really say anticipation was high, because my coworker had an extra ticket to the show and he couldn’t find anyone to take it. I guess maybe its because the tickets were SEVENTY dollars. Seriously, Radiohead charges 70 dollars, I don’t think you are as big as Radiohead so don’t charge as much as they do. I think if they charged around 45 dollars, there would have been a lot more people.

This was also my first time in Ricoh. It was an okay venue, it’s an arena, so theres no easy access to booze, but I had already accepted that before the show and dealt with it appropriately. I guess Ricoh and Molson Amphitheatre are the only mid-size venues out there – bigger then the Kool Haus, smaller then the ACC. It’s a shame that this show wasn’t at the Hummingbird or something. The sound system was okay, I think a lot of the sounds was muddled when the music was busy and that was a downer.

The Verve came on a bit after 9, late as usual (no band is ever punctual). And man, right away you can tell they are a successful band. Light shows, well dressed and just full of arrogance – all trademarks of a band that has arrived. Totally comfortable with the large stage and unfazed by the half empty stadium, Richard Ashcroft immediate broke into “A New Decade” off their second album. I have never seen the Verve live before, but Richard Ashcroft is a pretty good front man. He reminds me a lot of Ian Brown with all the posturing and moves he does. They both deliver their tunes like its a rap battle almost, which I found quite amusing. I think they both have the same barber too.

So for the next 100 minutes, they played all sorts of songs off all three of their albums. I don’t think the decade long absence has really hurt them live, they are quite strong live. The thing that will always be a huge plus for them is that Richard Ashcroft can really belt out tunes and when you have a quality lead like him, its hard to mess up. I would say my favorite moment was the 1-2 combo of “The Drugs Don’t Work” and “Lucky Man” near the end of the show. Those two songs are awesome and seeing them back to back was great. They ended the show with ‘Come On’ before whipping the crowd into a frenzy in the encore with ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ which is just ridiculous live. My only complaint was the light show was a bit much with the strobe lights and I’m pretty sure someone at the show probably had a seizure.

All in all, the Verve were tremendous crowd pleasers and the hit songs they played were flawless and I am pretty sure everyone went home happy. and deaf.

A New Decade
This is Music
Space and Time
Life’s An Ocean
Weeping Willow
Sit and Wonder
The Rolling People
Velvet Morning
The Drugs Don’t Work
Lucky Man
Come On

Bitter Sweet Symphony
Modern Times



Ps. The picture is not from the show.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.