I have to admit that it's been almost six years since I last saw Ash live, since which they've been through the nightmare situation of trying to introduce a DJ to their live show as well as the successful introduction of second guitarist Charlotte Hatherley. Back in 1995, I ran over to see the band play a summer's afternoon show at Glastonbury, having got into their punk metal sound when they released a cover of Helen Love's "Punk Boy" (not played on the video) along with their somewhat mental mini-album "Trailer". Half an hour of sweaty crowd surfing later, and the original three-piece have never looked back.
To the present day and September 2001 sees them playing the Akasaka Blitz in Tokyo to an ever-increasing Asian fan base, and the results of their tour are available now on DVD and Video. For those who have lost touch with Ash since their earlier days, their sound has rounded nicely into a radio-friendly guitar affair; Tim Wheeler, although aged slightly, still looks the ever-attractive front man whilst Charlotte provides additional backbone to their already intense sound.
It's a far cry from their rawk metal beginnings over in Ireland, but as the video shows in the closing personal portraits (a 15-minute section entitled "Tokyo Secrets") the original members kept their faith in continuing with something they enjoyed so much. In fact, they seem to be enjoying it more every day. From a tour to audiences of around 200 just a year ago, the band are now playing to 4,000 plus sell outs, reward for amassing a set full of chart hitting songs. The songs from six years ago are now a distant memory, with just the incredible "Kung Fu" (the first song I ever learnt to play on guitar) and debut single "Jack Names The Planets" remaining in the set, but when you look at what they've written since you realise there just isn't enough tape to include it all - even when the video runs in at 90 minutes.
The singles from later albums "Nu-Clear Sounds" and "Free All Angels" are all included, as well as a lengthy tribute to Weezer in their cover of "Only In Dreams", which also features a somewhat erotic guitar interplay between Tim and Charlotte. All in all, this is a live video for fans of all ages and the inclusion of some behind-the-scenes footage adds to a perfect purchase - just in time for Christmas too!