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Hunter and The Rant Band featuring Mick Ralphs - Just Another Night - DVD
Review No: 261
Mick Ralphs: Lead Guitar
Andy York: Lead Guitar
Gus Goad: Bass Guitar
Steve Holly: Drums
Ian Gibbons: Keyboards
“Just Another Night” is the second DVD release from Ian Hunter in just over two years. The first was recorded in Oslo Norway - a one off concert put on for DVD. Ian Hunter performed with guitarist Andy York, a put together local band, and a forty piece string section. The set list was carefully worked out to show off Ian Hunter’s songs that would benefit from being played in this environment. Most of it works very well, but in general leaves the viewer with a slight feeling of dissatisfaction, as the whole concert comes across more Manilow than Hunter. With Hunter himself often looking out of place at the front of the stage, with nearly fifty musicians behind him, standing alone in black, no customary guitar slung round his neck, hiding behind his omnipresent shades.
“Just Another Night” is a different matter altogether, Ian Hunter and the Rant Band, featuring long time mate and original lead guitarist from Mott The Hoople, and founding member of Bad Company Mick Ralphs. The previous year’s tour of England had been the first time Hunter and Ralphs had been on a stage together for over thirty years. Ralphs great fear of flying was always a huge burden to him touring internationally or across the America’s. So it was a nice little niche for Ralph’s to team back up with Ian Hunter, for the English leg of his tour to stretch his legs and axe picking fingers on the boards again.
The previous year this had worked with devastating effect
with both Hunter and Ralphs blowing up a storm, enjoying playing on the
same stage again, spurring each other on to greater heights. The set list
was magnificent, running at over two and a half hours, with Ralphs soloing
away to his heart’s delight (and the audience’s). Ralphs even
grabs the spotlight for a solo run through the old B.B. King Chestnut
‘Hideaway’ which Ralphs tears apart and rips through with
Once Bitten Twice Shy, Twisted Steel,
I Wish I Was Your Mother, Knees Of My
Heart, 23A Swan Hill, Irene Wilde, The
Truth, The Whole Truth, Nuthin’ But The
Truth, Roller Ball, Nightingale Sang In
Berkley Square, Roll Away the Stone,
Saturday Gigs, All The Young Dudes,
The Journey, Dead Man Walkin’,
Just Another Night, Cleveland Rocks,
Michael Picasso, Standin’ In My Light,
All The Way From
Mick Ralphs himself looks uninspired to take the lead guitar work and only occasionally steps forward to let go, definitely no solo number. Ian Hunter is his usual amiable self throughout, although the old throat is showing definite signs of wear and tear after a long tour. It’s a shame as the wonderful Angel Air had recorded one of the 2002 concerts for release on DVD and CD, at The Opera House Manchester England which caught the band in full flight. I know, as I have a highly prized bootleg of the event (A Night At The Opera House). Unfortunately, due to contractual problems, this was not possible, so Secret records took on the job the following year and this is the result, a great concert, but on its school report would have had “could have done better”. Maybe just recording the final concert of a tour limited their options a little.
After the rather lacklustre opening the band is led by Hunter into the Mott the Hoople standard bearer (from way back in 1969 opening song of side two of Mott The Hoople’s debut album, and played at every Mott The Hoople concert until their untimely demise in 1974) “Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen”. The band immediately get their boots on and come roaring in behind Hunter, and although Ralphs seems a little restrained, the same cannot be said for the rest of the boys. Andy York (Moonlighting from John Cougar Mellencamp’s band) tears into his axe at every opportunity, whilst being given solid support from the boys in the backline. Particular attention should be mentioned for the magnificent drumming skills of long time Ian Hunter band member Steve Holly, a star in his own right. Ian Gibbons (ex-Kinks) puts on a good show on the keyboards whilst allowing the lead guitars to shine; Gus Goad on bass is obviously having the time of his life.
The rest of the concert rushes along in typical Hunter style with some of the best songs to come out of the British Isles, including the poignant “I Wish I Was Your Mother”, most of the Hit Singles from both Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter’s Solo career, although perhaps not enough songs from Ian Hunter’s last solo album “Rant” (2002). Leaving out “Good Samaritan” is almost a Rock ‘n’ Roll criminal act.
Central to the concert is a massive version of “The Truth, The Whole Truth, Nuthin’ But The Truth” from Ian Hunter’s first solo album (1975), which is as solid a slab of Rock as it gets. In a two hour concert most of the songs that you would expect are here, which is further helped by a great medley of songs, old and new, wrapped inside this band’s version of “The Journey”. But watch out as all through the concert Ian Hunter slips in little snippets of crowd pleasers.
The whole show is brought to a dramatic conclusion when out onto the stage are brought Brian May of Queen fame, and Joe Elliot of Def Leapard. Brian May is delightful, wearing an outrageous wig, and throwing perfect shapes all across the stage, ripping the notes out of “All The Way From Memphis”. This finally gives Mick Ralphs a nudge, too, who gets it on, whilst Andy York goes ape at the side of the stage. This three pronged axe attack is simply devastating.
So all in all a great package (including a lengthy interview
with the man himself, plus footage of the band’s sound checking,
which is quite amusing). It’s not the greatest concert ever from
Mr. Hunter and his merry gang, but certainly worth your attention. If
you want a taster, get down to TQ’s famous Friday Rock ‘n’
Roll Happy Hour on Friday’s and ask the DJ to put on “All
The Way From Memphis” from this collection to see how Rock ‘n’
Roll should be played.