When Ride last toured here in 1992, The Palace in St Kilda was a thriving live music venue, and the throng of Generation X’s vying for a clear view, were in their prime of youth.
Fast forward to 2019 and what was formerly The Palace is a grim, concrete car park and the fans are a little older and wiser. Ride disbanded in 1996, reformed in 2014 to tour the festival circuit, and in 2017 released album Weather Diaries to critical acclaim. Vocalist Mark Gardener toured solo with his own band in 2012 and played some Ride tunes as part of his repertoire, but there’s nothing quite like hearing the original members; guitarist Andy Bell, bassist Steve Queralt and drummer Loz Colbert on stage again at the iconic Forum.
Here to showcase their latest release This is not a Safe Place, seminal shoe gaze pioneers, Ride, kick off their set with new song “Jump Jet” followed by “Charm Assault” off 2017’s Weather Diaries, but it’s guitar drenched, psychedelic “Seagull” off their debut album Nowhere that draws the loudest cheers from the crowd. “Unfamiliar” is a rare gem off 1991’s EP Today Forever, that I admittedly own as a cassingle, (back when car stereos had tape decks) and popular hit “Twisterella” sees the crowd dance and sing along in unison.
Acoustic guitar driven “Chrome Waves” off features transcendent harmonies from Gardener and Bell. It is melancholy masterpiece “Vapour Trail”, with Bell on vocals and reverb laden “Drive Blind” that takes the punters on a retrospective journey.
It’s no surprise that the encore takes the band back to their beginnings with guitar drenched “Polar Bear” off lauded debut Nowhere, replete with perfect harmonies care of Bell and Gardener to tug at our heart strings. Anthemic “Leave Them all Behind” reaches a crescendo as guitar feedback and searing harmonies meld together, and Ride take things up a notch, closing their set with the frenetic pace of early hit “Chelsea Girl”.
Ride’s dreamy, ethereal soundscapes, took us on an emotional foray into our youth, and to the long-gone days of car tape decks and prove they’re as accomplished and relevant now as they were in their formative years.