Review & photos by Rich Ward
As the intro tape of Holst’s ‘Jupiter’ rolled, so began the reality of Mott The Hoople performing live again. Four years since their ‘one off’ reunion shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, the announcement of 5 dates came as both a surprise and delight to Mott fans. As the intro tape reached its conclusion, the band walked onto the stage for their first night of the tour, and were greeted with a huge applause from an audience that had risen to its feet and remained standing for the next two hours.
They opened with a raucous ‘Rock And Roll Queen’ – a pure dose of Rock N roll, embellished with Verden Allen’s swirling Hammond lines. As the band kicked into ‘One Of The Boys’ all the lights on the stage go off and the house lights go on. Everyone seemed a little puzzled but the band went on relentless. At the end of the song Hunter commented ‘Something went wrong…as usual’ while a jovial Overend quickly quipped ‘The power’s going off next’.
The first part of the set features some less obvious songs, so it’s a treat to hear the likes of ‘The Moon Upstairs’, Watt’s ‘Born Late ’58’ and Allen’s ‘Soft Ground’. For ‘Violence’ Overend Watts cuts a striking pose as he dons his Flying V bass with samovar knife attached.
While they may remain forever known for the Bowie penned ‘All The Young Dudes’, the legacy of superb songs in their repertoire is astonishing. Many are semi autobiographical and this honesty is one of Mott’s most endearing qualities. Indeed, when Hunter delivers the line ‘And Pete’s still a rock and roll star’ during ‘The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople’, it elicits a huge cheer for the much loved local lad Overend Watts.
As the evening enters the home straight, it’s time to roll out the big guns. ‘Honaloochie Boogie’, ‘The Golden Age Of Rock N Roll’ and a superb ‘All The Way From Memphis’ closes the main set. It’s been a wonderful night, although there was evidence of being under-rehearsed with the odd missed intro, or fluffed solo from Mick Ralphs.
An encore of ‘All The Young Dudes’, ‘Roll Away The Stone’ saw the band backed by Tracie & Jesse Hunter, Jamie Ralphs & Stan Tippins. Excellent singalong stuff. An emotional ‘Saturday Gigs’ rounds off a truly memorable gig by one of the greatest rock n roll bands that have ever graced the planet.
Earlier in the evening, Del Bromham provided a good, solid support set, to a largely apathetic crowd. Many obvious to not knowing him or his work. While ‘The Ballad of JD’ seemed to go down well, I can’t help thinking that he would have had more impact playing as Stray in a three piece.
1. Rock and Roll Queen
2. One of the Boys
3. The Moon Upstairs
4. Hymn for the Dudes
6. Soft Ground
8. Born Late ’58
9. Death May Be Your Santa Claus/You Really Got Me
10. Ballad of Mott the Hoople
11. Walkin’ with a Mountain
13. When My Mind’s Gone/No Wheels to Ride/The Journey
14. Honaloochie Boogie
15. The Golden Age of Rock ‘N’ Roll
16. All the Way from Memphis
17. All the Young Dudes
18. Roll Away the Stone
19. Saturday Gigs
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