Ash – The Academy 18/10/2011

It was a moment I thought I would never see, but on Tuesday night Charlotte Hatherley once again played with Ash for the first date on their Free All Angels reunion tour in Dublin’s venue The Academy. Its been ten long years since Free All Angels was released and five years since Charlotte Hatherley has joined her former band mates on stage. She left in 2006 and forged a successful solo career, While the remaining members carried on as a trio.

As the tour is called the Free All Angels tour it was unsurprising that they kicked off the show with Walking Barefoot. They played the songs in the same order that they appear on the album and it was exciting knowing which songs were coming up next. I’ve seen Ash live a few times so it was great to hear the album songs that haven’t been given an airing for years. Hits like Burn baby burn, Shining light and Sometimes really got the crowd going and everyone around me sang along to the songs word perfect for most of the gig. World Domination signalled the end of the show and fans waited around after they exited the stage, eager for an encore. They didn’t leave the crowd waiting long and returned with a very generous eight song encore.

Oh yeah, Orpheus and Girl from Mars were the highlights of the encore for me. There was great chemistry on stage and the interactions with the crowd seemed genuine, and Tim in particular seemed thrilled with the audience’s responses. With the second encore over some of the audience left, but a hopeful majority stayed and were treated for their patience with a short second encore. When they returned to the stage they were joined by a special guest who definitely deserves a mention. The special guest I speak of was none other than two time Irish air guitar champion Deku Chan. He joined them on stage for a particularly energetic performance of Lose control. Deku was hilarious and put on a great performance which almost made you forget that there was anyone else on the stage with him. He stayed for just one song, but it was very memorable and I’m sure he gained a lot of fans from his performance!

Ash finished the night with a brilliant rendition of Kung fu. The packed audience went crazy and you ended up jumping up and down whether you intended to or not. When they left the stage again it was for the last time. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and thought that they really put a lot of effort and soul into it. It was great to see Charlotte with them again, It’s hard to believe that Ash have been around for twenty years now. They could give any young band a run for their money. I hope they keep it up.

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