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Wishbone Ash - 'Live In Geneva 1995' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/4d/54/ef/3143_wishboneashliveingenevea1995_1357604200.jpg Hot

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Captures them at their finest.

Ahhhh 1995, the days before reviewing a Wishbone Ash album required a PhD in music research, I remember it well..... The year in question marked a major landmark in Wishbone history, what with it bringing about the 25th anniversary of the band as a recording and touring entity. The plan was to mark the occasion for posterity, with an appearance at The Rock Heroes Festival in Geneva which would be recorded in a new fangled format called High Definition. The problem however was that the previous year Wishbone Ash had actually fizzled out of existence, basically at this stage being represented by one man, vocalist and guitarist Andy Powell. Determined not to let such a historic event in his band’s history go un-noticed, Powell recruited the American trio of guitarist Roger Filgate, bassist Tony Kishman and one-time 21 Guns, Asia and Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) drummer Mike Sturgis for the occasion. Oddly enough for what could at the time be considered one legitimate Wishboner and three hired hands, the results, as documented here, are quite spectacular and while the blurb that accompanies this reissue declares it (as you’d expect), to be a “truly great “live” CD”, I do actually have to agree.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Rather than sound like a fledgling act brought together especially for this gig, Powell, Filgate, Kishman and Sturgis put in a skilled, poised, yet fiery performance that does the vintage material served up every justice. As you’d expect for such an occasion, the ‘Argus’ album is heavily plundered, with scintillating renditions of ‘The King Will Come’, ‘Throw Down The Sword’ (misspelled as ‘Thrown’ in the tracklisting...), ‘Blowin’ Free’ and ‘Sometime World’, all sounding fresh and far younger than their at the time 23 years. The guitar pair dance from melody to melody with skill and panache, while Powell’s voice sounds like it was made to be partnered by that of Kishman. A medley of early numbers ‘Blind Eye’, ‘Lady Whiskey’, Jail Bait’, ‘Phoenix’ and ‘The Pilgrim’ also highlight that ‘Argus’ wasn’t the beginning of the story, with the mixture of rock and roll ideals, classic rock bombast, twin fret duelling and battering percussion leaving no doubt that Wishbone Ash knew their course right from the off.

Having been a pioneer of the HD format undoubtedly serves this release well, with the instruments being crystal clear and sharp throughout, without ever losing the rough readiness that is present on all of the best live albums. Something the bonus video clip of ‘The King Will Come’ illustrates perfectly. ‘Vas Dis’ closes out the show in fine fashion, confirming ‘Live In Geneva 1995’ as both an essential part of any Wishbone Ash addicts collection, and a fine starting point for those less acquainted with the band.

In 1996 the line-up represented here would go on to record the reasonably well received studio album ‘Illuminations’, but in truth this release captures them at their finest.

Steven Reid

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