Camp HRH, March 18 2017

With no fewer than 25 studio albums (and almost double that number of years in the band) under his belt there was no better choice than Andy Powell to bring down the curtain on a fabulous fifth installment of HRH Prog.

Wishbone Ash are synonymous with slick, high quality live shows: that’s exactly what was expected and exactly what we got. In fact the only chance of a rare wrong turn was innocently omitting a genuine crowd favourite – just how Powell and co. settle on a setlist is anyone’s guess.

In the event this was the perfect Greatest Hits medley.

You See Red and Jail Bait had a wrapt crowd bouncing from the off before ballad Lady Jay slowed the pace and saw an eerie and almost respectful hush descend over the main arena.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the inclusion of the instrumental The Spirit Flies 

Free – from Nouveau Calls – which afforded guitarist Muddy Manninen the opportunity to shine. He took his chance. And then some.

A huge chunk of the show was set aside for the album Argus, with a brilliant trio of The King Will Come, Warrior and Throw Down The Sword genuinely upping the ante.

But it wasn’t all 70s classic Ash with the band treating Camp HRH to Take It Back from their most recent album Blue Horizon.

As Powell and bass player Bob Skeat synchronised their guitar swaying routine during an upbeat version of Blowin’ Free it became clear that this is a band that still lives getting down to business.

Waiting for the encore was actually a little sad: it meant another memorable weekend was drawing to a close. But with more than 10 minutes of Phoenix to dull the pain any pangs of disappointment were replaced with anticipation ahead of the star-studded HRH Prog VI!

Colin Davies