John Mayall Sage Gateshead 14 November 2017

mayall tix

The Sage advertised the concert: “Pioneer of blues music John Mayall played at the Sage Gateshead in Sage Hall One (the large hall) with special guest The Buddy Whittington Band on the 14th November 2017. Considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time this was not a show to miss.”

And you can’t get much more of a pioneer than the father of British blues himself, Mr John Mayall. Mayall is a living legend and deserves much respect; particularly for those classic 60s albums by the Blues Breakers featuring Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor and many other legendary guitarists, bass players and drummers. Respect. Respect that the guy is still out there, continuing to play his craft at the age of 84 at the time of this concert, just as his influences, the old blues men continued to play until a ripe old age.

This time round, John Mayall is supported by none other than Buddy Whittington, one of his previous bandmates, and an excellent guitarist in the style of Eric Clapton and Peter Green. The John Mayall band is a stripped down version; a three-piece with Mayall on vocals, harmonica, keyboards and guitar, along with Jay Davenport on drums and Greg Rzab on bass.

mayall progThe set comprises several blues standards, and songs from Mayall’s extensive back catalogue. The sound is somewhat laid-back, in the style of a Chicago blues combo with each excellent instrumentalist being given the chance to highlight their skill in an extended solo; including electric piano and harmonica solos by Mayall himself. That is the strength of Mayall. The man comes over as modest, happy and content to allow his band members to flourish, shine and excel and then move on to further their own successful careers; from Clapton onwards and Buddy Whittington himself being a recent example. There are quite a few songs I recognise and several I don’t; nonetheless I enjoyed the set, as did my carer Jackie, and continue to marvel at the legend that is John Mayall. His tiny guitar, which I have seen many times over the years, never ceases to fascinate me. Mayall finished the set with, what else but, his own standard “Room to Move” with much harmonica excellence on display. Long may he continue. Respect. Until the next time.

Setlist (something like): I’m a Sucker for Love; Talk About That; Checkin’ Up on My Baby; Not at Home; Help Me Baby; Do I Please You; Mother-In-Law Blues; That’s All Right; Movin’ Groovin’ Blues;     Driftin’ Blues; California. Encore: Room to Move

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