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GOLDEN EARRING AND MARTIN TURNERíS WISHBONE ASH Shepherds Bush Empire 14 March 2009

The prospect of seeing Dutch legends Golden Earring- last on UK soil 30 years ago- for the first time ever was tempting enough for me, but an added bonus was the addition of Martin Turnerís Wishbone Ash to a well-balanced double bill. Much bad blood has been spilled between the different camps over the two line-ups currently carrying the bandís name, but as a huge fan I merely take pleasure in seeing their music kept alive twice over.

On balance I prefer the MTWA version as it is a delight to hear Martin sing again, not to mention his distinctive baselines that interweave with the bandís famous twin guitar sound. On this occasion, after a quiet opening with Why Donít We, their set was the classic ĎArgusí album in its entirety and once they picked up momentum guitarists Ray Hatfield and Danny Willson did the complex guitar passages justice.

Highlights included a marvellously fluid solo from Ray in Sometime World, and an interesting twin guitar arrangement to Throw Down the Sword. By the time they rocked out to Blowiní Free, saved to the end, and sneaked in an encore of Jailbait, they received a big welcome and not only from the Wishbone diehards present.

Golden Earring took the stage dressed all in black and with cropped silver hair, save for singer Barry Hay who with his jet black quiff and tattooed arms looked like a slightly menacing teddy boy, and burst out of the blocks with Candyís Going Bad. Their music had more of a rockíní
roll groove, difficult to pigeonhole, but always enjoyable.

For a bunch of sixty-somethings the pace never flagged, with highlights including an extended version of Twilight Zone with a great solo from George Kooymans, whose guitar work was always tight and economical, The Devil Made me Do It, Something Heavy Going Down and the biker anthem Going to the Run.

Of course to most UK audiences they are known solely for Radar Love, but it did feel a bit over the top to drag it out to around 20 minutes including a drum solo. They atoned with two encores, including She Flies on Strange Wings, complete with horn player.

The biggest compliment I can pay is that, having previously only owned a compilation album of theirs, the show made me curious to check out their (lengthy) back catalogue. I donít think I would want to wait another 30 years before they return however.


Review by Andy Nathan


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