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ConcertsMott The Hoople @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK, 11/11/2013

Posted on Thursday, November 14 2013 @ 13:10:52 CST by Dean Pedley
Concert Reviews In November 1973 Mott The Hoople toured the UK supported by Queen, prompting Brian May to state that "I was always conscious that we were in the presence of something great, something highly evolved, close to the centre of the Spirit of Rock 'n' Roll, something to breathe in and learn from." Forty years later and Mott have reunited for the second time for a handful of shows with the line-up of Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs, Overend Watts and Verden Allen joined by guest drummer Martin Chambers (substituting for Dale Griffin, absent due to ill health). The opening night of the tour saw Def Leppard frontman and life long Mott fan Joe Elliott amongst the sold out crowd at Birmingham's Symphony Hall as seen by Sea of Tranquility staff writer Dean Pedley.

Arriving on stage to a rapturous reception the reunited band launches into a swaggering, frolicking 'Rock n Roll Queen'. Technical gremlins see the house lights remain on for 'One of the Boys' but this only adds to the sense of occasion. There is something of a ragged looseness to the first few numbers that suggests they are under rehearsed, not that the audience seems to mind. Mick Ralphs reels off the licks from his pre-Bad Company history and the venue is transformed from its state of opulence into a pub-rock vibe straight out of the early 70's. Ian Hunter, known to feign indifference when the subject of Mott and reunions is raised in interviews, cuts a rather avuncular figure, engaged with audience and band members alike as he leads the band through the romp of 'The Moon Upstairs'.

Birmingham born Overend Watts ("I was born here in the 80's…the 1880's") and Verden Allen, both long out of the musical limelight, get their lead vocal turn on 'Born in 58' and the Hammond driven 'Soft Ground' respectively. The stylistic diversity of the back catalogue is highlighted from the noisy excess of 'Violence' to the glam-pop tinged 'Honaloochie Boogie' and the heartfelt sincerity of 'Ballad of Mott the Hoople', a tale of shattered rock and roll dreams that still brings a lump to the throat.

Their raise the bar still further when Hunter belts out the opening bars of a rollicking 'All The Way From Memphis' and the momentum carries right on through until the end. From here on in Symphony Hall becomes a glorious jukebox of Mott's golden era with 'The Golden Age of Rock n Roll', 'All The Young Dudes', 'Roll Away The Stone' and the stirring emotional climax of 'Saturday Gigs'.

Often raucous, sometimes ramshackle and, above all else, still pretty fantastic.

Rock and Roll Queen
One of the Boys
The Moon Upstairs
Hymn for the Dudes
Sucker
Soft Ground
Waterlow
Born Late '58
Death May Be Your Santa Claus/You Really Got Me
Ballad of Mott the Hoople
Walkin' with a Mountain
Violence
When My Mind's Gone/No Wheels to Ride/The Journey
Honaloochie Boogie
The Golden Age of Rock 'N' Roll
All the Way from Memphis
All the Young Dudes
Roll Away the Stone
Saturday Gigs

Review by Dean Pedley
Images by Rich Ward at www.classicrockphotography.co.uk


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