The Almighty - Astoria 2 2008
London - February 2
20 years for any band deserves recognition, and none more so that stalwart Scottish rockers The Almighty, who returned with their classic line-up in 2005 for two Leukaemia Research benefit shows following bassist Floyd London's battle with the disease.
Support for the tour came from Australian veteran rock outfit Head Inc., who first toured with The Almighty back in their hey day. Their Rose Tattoo-ish style of raw, bar-room rock came through loud and clear on their older material, but the newer, heavier tracks from excellent new album Pariah really stood out as their best work. Towards the end of their set Almighty front-man Ricky Warwick joined them on guitar for Limo Love, to the joy of the amassed crowd, and another couple of their most well known old tracks finished off a very high energy set that seemed to go down well with The Almighty fan-base.
Although in all honesty there's a sense of "same old, same old" with an Almighty show at the moment (no new songs etc. - but hopefully some on the way) they do put a fair bit of effort into changing the setlist around. There's a hardcore of songs (and fans) that, so far since the original line-up reunion, have been mainstays in the set, including Over The Edge, Crucify, Wrench, Do You Understand, Wild And Wonderful, Addiction and Destroyed, then another selection of songs which get rotated or replaced.
The first time they came back, in January 2006, the fans voted for the setlist and the only tracks to feature back then which haven't so far been re-used were Move Right In, Bandaged Knees and Welcome To Defiance. Coming back in December 2006 Sin Against The Light made a surprise appearance throughout the tour, along with Power, Little Lost Sometimes, 360 and Resurrection Mutha. The new additions to the set were greatly appreciated.
This time even more different songs were brought into the set, starting with opening number Takin' Hold, an ever-popular track whose omission from the previous setlists came as something of a surprise. And on the subject of classic tracks being missing, Powertrippin' was absent for the third time - very odd. Over the course of the next ten songs huge versions of no less than another six new additions really characterised the first half of the set. A massive Blood, Fire & Love was the pick of the collection which also included Gift Horse, Praying To The Red Light, over-looked classic Devil's Toy, Crank And Deceit from impossible-to-find album Crank and a very surprising inclusion of La Chispa De La Muerte from the Psycho-Narco album. The reason this was particularly unexpected is because that album didn't feature Floyd London or Pete Friesen, and so far since the reunion the band have been playing songs purely from their first five albums, featuring that line-up.
After that batch containing some different songs the second half of the set was mostly ever-present tracks. Full Force Lovin' Machine, Jonestown Mind, All Sussed Out (this time featuring a horn section), Free 'N' Easy, the always magnificent Jesus Loves You... But I Don't and many of the previously mentioned classics all made appearances, each greeted with suitably appreciative roars, plus the return of Little Lost Sometimes and Sex Pistols cover Bodies (I really wish they'd stop playing that).
On a personal note Bandaged Knees not returning was disappointing, but otherwise this was probably the best set I've seen them play since the reunion. Warwick has now said they're quite keen to make a new album, and there will be a new live DVD from this 20th Anniversary tour, so there's plenty more to come from The Almighty, who are one of the UK's last honest rock institutions.
“ suitably appreciative roars ”
Setlist: Takin' Hold / The Unreal Thing / Crucify / Gift Horse / Do You Understand / Praying To The Red Light / Blood, Fire & Love / Addiction / Crank And Deceit / La Chispa De La Muerte / Devil's Toy / Over The Edge / Jesus Loves You... But I Don't / Wrench / Jonestown Mind / All Sussed Out / Full Force Lovin' Machine / Destroyed / Wild And Wonderful / Free 'N' Easy // Little Lost Sometimes / Bodies
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