The Verve. In concert at the legendary Pink Pop Festival in 1998, and preserved for posterity by the venerable VPRO radio network in The Netherlands. The Verve, one of the most interesting and tortured bands of the 1990s. They began as a Psychedelic-based group and, over time changed direction, as well as personnel in what has been described as a continuous air of catastrophe. The band split for the first time in 1995.
By the time they reunited and achieved commercial success in 1997, they were on the verge of breaking up a second time. Compounded by a series of internal conflicts, fueled primarily by drugs, The Verve struggled with success while releasing some of the most potent and memorable music of the 90s. Their landmark single Bittersweet Symphony was a huge hit for them in Britain and the U.S. and secured a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song.
This concert comes at the peak of their success and the peak of their tension. In 1998 it was a series of appearances throughout Europe to promote their 3rd album Urban Hymns. The band had won Best British Group and Best British Album for Urban Hymns, and the video for Bittersweet Symphony was nominated for an MTV Best Video award.
However, the tour of Europe was fraught with internal tension and problems. Mid-way through guitarist Nick McCabe and Richard Ashcroft went toe-to-toe during an after concert scuffle in Düsseldorf and the remaining dates of the tour were cancelled, with co-founder McCabe leaving the band, and the group’s future in jeopardy. Rumors of an imminent breakup were circulating in press circles at an ever increasing pace.
Although The Verve continued on and did a U.S. tour, it wasn’t well received. In February of 1999, Bitter Sweet Symphony was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Song of The Year. But by then it was too late – The Verve did their last gig in August of 1998 and finally announced in April of 1999 that it was all over.
As a reminder of the tremendous influence The Verve had during the 1990s, here is that concert from Pinkpop in 1998. One of the truly remarkable bands who have since gone off to other pursuits, but who still remain unforgettable.
Play this one loud.