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Ian Hunter - A Night At The Opera House
Recorded 18th May 2002

Review: 082
Date: 1 Jul 02

 


Rating: 5 Stars

Musicians:
Ian Hunter – Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Mick Ralphs – Guitar
Andy York – Guitar
Gus Goad – Bass
Ian Gibbons – Keyboards
Steve Holley - Drums

Tracks Listing:
1. One Of The Boys
2. Once Bitten Twice Shy
3. Good Samaritan
4. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
5. American Spy
6. Purgatory
7. Walking With A Mountain
8. Death Of A Nation
9. Twisted Steel
10. Angeline
11. 23 A Swan Hill
12. Wash Us Away
13. The Original Mixed Up Kid
14. Hideaway
15. Michael Picasso
16. Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen
17. Death May Be Your Santa Claus
18. Roll Away The Stone
19. All The Young Dudes
20. Dead Man Walking
21. All The Way From Memphis
22. Golden Age Of Rock ‘n’ Roll
23. Keep A Knockin’

 


This double C.D of Ian Hunter’s latest tour of Britain in support of his latest official release, the critically acclaimed ‘Rant’, is a bootleg recording. This means it is a recording made by a member of the audience, transferred onto a C.D, and then sold usually by the internet or by post. The bad thing about this is, of course, that the artists in question get no money for their labour, but from a fan’s point of view you get to hear what your favorite artist is up to. This recording from the Glasgow Opera House is hardly likely to ever be officially released, so I don’t see that financially it hurts Mr. Hunter and his band. Plus, the fact that after all the trouble Mr. Graham Stuart has taken to produce these albums, he is hardly likely to make a fortune himself.

So, what do you get for your money? Each double C.D sells for 15 pounds sterling, including postage, anywhere in the world, and this is the eighth in Mr. Stuart’s series of ‘Handmade for Fans’ series. It is a very professionally put together package with an attractive front cover, a four page informative booklet, a back cover with fourteen colour shots of the band in action on the night, two printed C.D’s, and over two and a half hours of the best Rock ‘n’ Roll you are ever likely to hear.

This tour of Britain was of great historical importance to any music aficionado, as it was the first time for twenty-nine years that two of the founding members of Mott the Hoople had gone on tour together. So it is not surprising that the quality of the music is so high. Sitting behind the bins is the drummer’s drummer Steve Holley, whose contribution to the live sound cannot be underestimated. On keyboards is one of the great veterans of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Ian Gibbons (Ex Pretty Things and The Kinks), whose style suits the band down to a tee. On lead guitar is the impeccable Andy York, (long time associate of John Cougar Mellencamp). Then, of course, up front are the two stars of the show, ex-Mott the Hoople and original member of Bad Company, Mr. Mick Ralphs and Mr. Ian Hunter. Mick Rick, who through this recording demonstrates that he has lost none of his mastery of the electric guitar, belts out solo’s to some old Mott classics as well as adding new vigor to some of the newer material. Out front of course is the incomparable Ian Hunter, one of Rock’s finest and most charismatic front men. Together they put out a sound that is timeless, and if only the Rolling Stones could still pump out Rock ‘n’ Roll with such enthusiasm and raunch. Over the two C.D’s you get the whole of the gig in its proper running order, including all the on-stage banter between band and audience.

Although the temptation must have been to go out and rely upon a set list of old Mott the Hoople songs, nothing of the sort happens. Ten songs from the Mott the Hoople Hunter/Ralphs era are played, and one from after Ralphs had left for Bad Company (all of which have since been in and out of the Ian Hunter solo live set anyway). Five from ‘Rant’, a selection from Ian Hunter’s solo work, and a couple of covers (a classic version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Knockin On Heaven’s Door’ and a final rave up of Little Richards ‘Keep A Knockin’).

In general all lead guitar work is equally shared between York and Ralphs, although Ralphs steps to centre stage to do an instrumental version of that old chestnut ‘Hideaway’, which nearly

brings the house down. Mick Ralphs takes no lead vocals in the set, the reason for which is hilariously explained by Ian Hunter as one of his between song raps.

In the hands of these boys, Rock ‘n’ Roll is in good shape.

The sound quality throughout is of the highest standard, and is actually a lot clearer than some official live albums by big name record labels. There is certainly much more of a feeling of actually being there.

This band is certainly one of the best Ian Hunter has ever put together, and the man himself over the years just gets better and better like a fine wine. For those of you that haven’t heard his last album ‘Rant’, lend an ear soon or pop down to Pattaya’s leading Rock ‘n’ Roll bar, the Tahitian Queen on Beach Road, where Ian Hunter music is always rocking them in the aisles. One of the things that occurred to me whilst checking out the songs on the set list, is that such is the great accumulation of wealth of songs from both these artists that both Mick Ralphs and Ian Hunter could produce set lists for additional 2 1/2 hour concerts containing many classics without touching upon songs from this collection. I mean, how many artists could go on stage and leave out such classic self-penned songs as ‘Can’t Get Enough’ or ‘Feel Like Makin Love’ (Ralphs) and ‘Cleveland Rocks’, ‘Irene Wilde Bastard’ or ‘Loner’ (Hunter)?!

For those of you that would like to know more about this particular release, contact Graham Stuart of Handmade records at: gstuart@cisco.com

 

Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew

E-mail: review@mott-the-dog.com


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