Live Review: Mott The Hoople – Glasgow

After their acclaimed headlining performance at 2018’s Ramblin’ Man Fair, Ian Hunter has kept the momentum flowing by reconvening Mott The Hoople class of ‘74 for a series of dates. Earlier this month they performed in the US for the first time in 45 years, and now it’s the turn of the UK to catch Hunter, along with Ariel Bender and Morgan Fisher, in concert. And if they needed a good reason to do so, it’s also the 45th anniversary of their famous 1974 U.S. tour, as well as the original release of ‘The Hoople’ and ‘Live’, the final albums of the classic Mott The Hoople era.

The lights dim and the intro tape kicks in, it’s the original recording of David Bowie introducing the band. A poignant way to start the set, and this of course leads into ‘Jupiter’ (from Holst’s Planet Suite) which in turn leads into Ian Hunter taking the stage for the opening bars to ‘American Pie’. “The day the music died…or did it?” then blam it’s straight into ‘The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll’. The stage comes to life with a giant illuminated capital M providing the backdrop for the band in front. Hunter’s long-time backing band, The Rant Band, provides the bedrock for the Mott OG’s to strut their collective stuff. Ariel Bender gets an amazing reception as he covers every inch of the stage, working the crowd, peeling off some amazing guitar licks (‘Sucker’ and ‘Walking With A Mountain’ in particular), and generally having a blast. Morgan Fisher steals the show, not just with his crucial piano playing on moments like ‘Pearl ‘n’ Roy (England)’ and of course ‘All The Way From Memphis’, but with his stagecraft. How can you not like a guy who is served champagne from a luminous ice bucket by a roadie? Or when he says… ”I don’t care what the people might say, I don’t give a fuck anyway!”, or soaking the crowd with a water bottle, or teasing the crowd by playing the wrong key on the intro to ‘All The Way From Memphis’ Total class! The man in the middle, Ian Hunter, is still one of the coolest performers ever. It’s hard not to mention that soon he turns 80, but watching him on stage, you honestly wouldn’t know that. He’s the man in charge, and everything flows through him.

The midsection of the set, beginning with ‘Sucker’ and including an incredible version of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Sweet Jane’, was a masterclass in pacing and performance. From the quiet, emotional ‘Rose’ to the raucous roadhouse of ‘Walking With A Mountain’ (complete with Ian Hunter wielding an incredible custom iron cross guitar), this was indeed a lesson for any young bands looking on. This is how you build a set… and build it they did. If the fifteen-minute medley that began with ‘Jerkin’ Crokus’, then ends with a brief moment of ‘You Really Got Me’, has them dancing in the aisles, then the main encore has the roof blown off! ‘All The Way From Memphis’ followed by ‘Saturday Gigs’ and what else but ‘All The Young Dudes’, the perfect way to end an incredible evening. When Ariel Bender picks out the opening chords to ‘All The Young Dudes’ the place erupts. A magical moment in a night of many.

Images – Dave Jamieson

 

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