Verve's Return To Stage

By shane

Well, THE VERVE kicked off their US tour tonight at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, and Excellent Online was there for the festivities. To quelch the Internet-rumour-of-the-week, there was NO opening act (although we've STILL been hearing word from slightly-better-than-average sources that Noel Gallagher might pop up for an acoustic set on at least one of the US dates). In the meantime, what we DID get was the Verve's new pedal steel guitarist, BJ Cole. The addition of Cole to the line-up provided some stellar moments in "The Drugs Don't Work" and "Bitter Sweet Symphony," among others. Last month's announcement that guitarist Nick McCabe was taking a sabbatical from the live stage has caused many to speculate whether or not the band could pull off a live set of the usual calibre. The answer is a hearty YES. Simon Tong and Ashcroft himself took on more of an active role with respect to guitar playing, and Cole more than made up for the difference. The whole band seemed pretty positive, with occasional grins from Ashcroft and an un-ending smile on the face of Simon Jones. All in all, a decent time -- we'll hopefully have pictures available on the site soon. In the meantime, rest in the knowledge that it looks as if The Verve are FAR from finished.