Live Review: Ride – O2 Ritz, Manchester 28.04.2022

Pic Credit: Bryan Spink R.I.P

When Ride announced their return to the live arena in 2014, after nearly 20 years away, I don’t think anybody was prepared for just how good those shows would be. Indeed, the Albert Hall show in May 2015 was so awesome, that it precipitated me compiling a list of my Top 20 gigs of all time. I’d never attempted that before, as it seemed a pointless task ad difficult to qualify. However, that night I did and suffice to say that Albert Hall show made it on to the list.

Ride have always been a great live act but something had changed in the interim period. They were so obviously now a balls out rock band. The power with which songs from both Nowhere and Going Blank Again, which made up most of the 20 song set, were delivered, made a mockery of any “shoegazing” tag. This may have been due in part to Andy Bell’s post-Ride career, playing massive stadium gigs with both Oasis and Beady Eye. That big show sound certainly seems to have permeated their sound and has spilled over into both of the albums released since their reunion. Tonight is all about Nowhere, 30 years on since its release. Mark explains that the balance of the album is a bit off when played live, due to the running order, with the more pedestrian passage featuring In A Different Place, Polar Bear & Dreams Burn Down before exploding into the rest of the album. There’s no need for a set list as the album is played faithfully in the order it was originally released.

Andy reminds us of the last time they were in Manchester, December 2019. It was election night and the screen behind them flashed up “Fuck Off Boris” and there was an air of expectancy that night that change might be a coming! Sadly, it was badly misjudged as the early indications started feeding through from the Exit Polls, that Labour had failed to make any ground and it visibly sucked the energy from the room, and an otherwise great gig was forgotten almost the instant the crowd ventured out into the winter night.

No worries this time, the band perform with much of that aforementioned power and it’s a real show to remember. By the time the last notes of Nowhere ebb away, that last gig has been expunged.

Part two or the encore as you could probably call it, is an absolute treat. Lannoy Point is now a firm crowd (and personal) favourite. It’s as good as anything written for the first 4 albums, pre-break up. According to Andy, the support band Enola Gay, had been badgering them to play Twisterella on the tour and tonight they relent and deliver a fine version to the appreciative crowd. The rest of the seven song “encore” is completed by All I Want, OX4, Kill Switch, Unfamiliar before the curtain is brought down by Leave Them All Behind, with the instantly recognisable single finger keyboard riff, before being overpowered as the bass kicks in and the soaring twin guitar assault takes it higher. I’m reminded that the anthemic power has always been in the music but somehow now it sounds enhanced. I guess we’ll all be back again soon for the Going Blank Again Tour, I know I will.

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