“Mott the Hoople storm back to London for a dazzling night at the Hammersmith Apollo.
The stakes in heritage rock reunions are getting so high that, soon, only the exhumation of some demised old stager will up the ante. This latest one, however, was pretty far-fetched.
Mott the Hoople were titans of mid-Seventies glam. In their early career, they struggled as unreconstructed rockers, until David Bowie, no less, remodelled them in satin suits and platform boots. He donated them a fabulously dissolute glam anthem, ‘All the Young Dudes’, and thus began their tenure in the Top Five.
This, however, was a band destined to fail. They didn’t handle whirlwind fame well at all, and quickly disintegrated, only to be championed retrospectively by fans such as Morrissey, for their raunchy, wry take on the rock ‘n’ roll life.
Forty years on from their inception, and thirty years since some of the members had actually spoken to each other, Mott stormed back into London for the first of five sold-out nights at the Apollo. Their singer, Ian Hunter, agelessly shrouded in corkscrew curls and face-blotting sunglasses, led straight into a ballad, ‘Hymn For the Dudes’, his gnarly, Dylan-esque voice roaring at the high notes. This was not to be a half-hearted canter through the hits.
The first hour was mostly devoted to the band’s pre-Bowie, high-voltage rock ‘n’ roll material. Hunter, a busy solo artist for more than three decades, and the silver-topped lead guitarist, Mick Ralphs, riffed vigorously, in active defiance of Time’s subsequent intervention. The partisan crowd — at least eighty percent of whom, gloriously, unrepentantly, were old enough to remember it all from the turn of the Seventies — responded with commensurate enthusiasm.
The electricity crackled to a new intensity, however, when Hunter moved to a piano stage-left, and finally unleashed a dazzling run of glam classics — songs about little more than rock itself. Glam, originally, existed purely to overturn prog-rock’s tedious virtuosity, to revive the raw, sexy thrill of Fifties rock’s simple, thumping beats and clanging riffs.
Perhaps it was daft, witnessing a seventy-year old man with a blond afro singing, “I get my kicks from guitar licks”, but also fabulously empowering, given his heedless dedication to the cause.
The sense of lifelong commitment was heightened during the encore, when the band’s original drummer, Dale Griffin, entered the fray.
Martin Chambers with Ian Hunter and his daughter Tracy Hunter
Griffin has Alzheimer’s, and had to be led by the hand to a drum kit alongside his substitute for the evening, the Pretenders’ Martin Chambers. Soon, he was pounding away the rhythm to ‘Roll Away the Stone’, grinning from ear to ear. ‘All the Young Dudes’, then, was simply breath-taking, with Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott joining in for a verse.
And the rockin’ went on, unrestrainable, deafening, totally life-affirming.”(by Andrew Perry; The Telegraph, 02 October, 2009)
Okay, most of th time, Mott Te Hoople sounds like a “Mott The Hoople Revival Band” … but it´s still a very important document of one of the finest bands from the Seventies.
Note: This show was recorded and transferred to CD on the night. This means you hear a CD-R rather than factory-pressed CDs.
Recorded live at the first Mott The Hoople re-union show
at HMV Hammersmith Apollo 1st October 2009.
Verden Allen (keyboards)
Martin Chambers (drums)
Ian Hunter (vocals, guitar, piano, bass on 11.)
Mick Ralphs (guitar, background vocals)
Overend Watts (bass, vocals on 11.)
Joe Elliott (vocals on 20.)
Dale Griffin (drums on 21. + 22.)
Maggie Ronson – Tracy Hunter
01. Jupitor Intro (Holst) 1.12
02. Hymm For The Dudes (Allen/Hunter) 5.34
03. Rock & Roll Queen (Ralphs) 4.44
04. Sweet Jane (Reed) 4.51
05. One Of The Boys (Hunter/Ralphs) 6.15
06. Sucker (Hunter/Ralphs/Watts) 5.15
07. Moon Upstairs (Hunter/Ralphs) 6.32
08. The Original Mixed Up Kid (Hunter) 4.41
09. I Wish I Was Your Mother (Hunter) 6.36
10. Ready For Love (Ralphs) 8.13
11. Born Late ’58 (Watts) 4.33
12. Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (GriffinHunter/Ralphs/Watts) 6.18
13. Walking With A Mountain (Hunter) / Jumpin Jack Flash (Jagger/Richards) 5.56
14. Like A Rolling Stone (Dylan) / Laugh At Me (Bono) /The Journey (Hunter) 9.02
15. Golden Age Of Rock & Roll (Hunter) 3.35
17. Honaloochie Boogie (Hunter) 3.43
18. All The Way From Memphis (Hunter) 9.46
19. Roll Away The Stone (Hunter) 4.41
20. All The Young Dudes (Bowie) 4.52
21. Keep A Knockin’ (Penniman) 3.53
22. Saturday Gigs (Hunter) 6.28