Ian Hunter and the Rant Band Whitley Bay Playhouse 3 July 2017

In Seventy-one all the people come
Bust a few seats but it’s just in fun
Take the Mick out of Top of the Pops
We play better than they do…..

Do you remember the Saturday gigs
We do, we do
Do you remember the Saturday gigs
We do, we do” (Saturday Gigs, Mott the Hoople, 1974)

ian hunter‘Unter is back in town. The guy who has given me so many wonderful memories over the years. The guy who has rock and roll in his blood. Forgive me while I reminisce a little, but seeing Ian Hunter brings so many memories flooding back of so many happy, happy days and nights. I owe this guy so much.

This is the guy who had long curly ginger locks and his iron cross guitar and sang about “Walking with a Mountain” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen” and blew us away with proper rock long before “Dudes” and who I saw at Sunderland Mecca with a young up-and-coming prog band called Genesis as support. Who caused so much mayhem at Newcastle Mayfair that the bouncers brought Alsatian dogs in to control the crowd. This is the guy who brought his Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus to Newcastle City Hall with none other than Max Wall as support. This is the guy who couldn’t make his mind up whether he was Bob Dylan, Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis, when actually he was Ian Hunter and that was enough in itself. Who brought us “All the Young Dudes” and the band was reborn.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Who sang to me from the stage at the Buxton Festival about “The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” complete with grand piano and a candelabra on top at what was to be Mott’s final UK gig (I think), while I stood in the mud and the rain. Who then teamed up with his old mate Ronson for a great single “Once Bitten Twice Shy” and a great concert at the City Hall. This guy then went solo, returned to the Mayfair with a grand piano at the height of punk rock, and had the Vibrators as support. Who reformed Mott the Hoople and gave me a great night at Hammersmith Odeon sat one row behind none other than Mick Jones of the Clash, a big Mott fan. And throughout the years his passion, rock ethos, drive and love for rock remained undiminished. Sorry for my rant, but this guy is one of my heroes (as you may have gathered).

So there I was, with Alan my carer, on the end of a row near the front in my wheelchair at Whitley Bay Playhouse ready to see my hero again. The audience was a mix of ages, ranging from faces I recognise from the Mayfair in the early 70s, through punks, Mott the Hoople fans and people who just like genuine heartfelt rock. And ‘Unter delivered, again. Two hours of great rock ‘n’ roll with a band of class musicians who provide a relentless backdrop for Ian’s vocals. The hair is not quite so ginger or curly, but the voice is as strong as ever. Two songs in and we get the aforementioned “Once Bitten Twice Shy”, a string of Hunter solo songs, now becoming classics themselves, then the opening guitar of “Roll Away the Stone” blows me away as it always has done. He closes with a nudge back to the past and one of his influences Lou Reed with “Sweet Jane”. The encore includes, as it has to and should, “All the Young Dudes” and the final “Good Night Irene” which seems to have become the closer at the moment.

2017-tour-ian hunterAmazing. One of the best times I have seen him. The guy was pushing 80 at the time but still has more energy, passion and drive than many half his age. I bump into Pauline and Rob of Penetration, who are surprised to see me in my wheelchair and I explain my predicament. Another night of memories, to park in the Mott/Ian Hunter collection. Till the next time, Ian. Let’s hope it is soon.

Setlist: That’s When The Trouble Starts; Once Bitten Twice Shy; Fatally Flawed; When I’m President; Saint; The Truth, the Whole Truth, Nuthin’ but the Truth; Morpheus; Just Another Night; Fingers Crossed; All American Alien Boy; Standin’ in My Light; All the Way From Memphis; Ghosts; Roll Away the Stone; I Wish I Was Your Mother; 23A, Swan Hill; Bastard; Sweet Jane. Encore: Dandy; Long Time; Life / All the Young Dudes / Goodnight Irene

Many thanks to Jim Summaria for allowing use of his image of Ian Hunter through Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

12 responses to this post.

  1. Brain Capers and Mad Shadows ! Pre Dudes Mott were incredible live . You can see where Bowie and Ronson got thier inspiration from , listen to Aladdin Sane hear the influence. Saw Mott at the city hall numerous times ,everyone had a great time ..
    As per usual another valuable account of events that are an important part of peoples personal histories . This has to be one of the best blogs out there. Love it
    .

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on August 20, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Thanks Brian I am pleased you enjoyed my ramblings. Yes back in the early days Mott the Hoople were incredible. One memory I forgot to include was listening to “Thunderbuck Ram” on Bumpers. We played and played that tune Happy days Peter

      Reply

  2. Great report & memories – thanks! I also saw Mott before “Dudes” and have their LPS – also followed IH’s career since.

    Reply

  3. Posted by John Moses on August 20, 2020 at 6:21 am

    Hi Peter,

    I discovered Mott the Hoople in Sheffield as a student in the 70s. A friend knew all about them in 71/2 and how the bass player was considered one of the best bassists around so I went and from then on I saw them each time they came to Sheffield.

    John

    Reply

  4. Posted by Ken on August 20, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    If you read Ian Hunter’s excellent “Diary of a rock’n’roll star” he talks about the Newcastle City hall gig before they went on that US tour – it has to be the 20th Sept ’72 concert, and he notes that Buffin was so pissed that the roadies had to stamp their feet to help him keep time. I do vaguely remember him falling off his stool and being helped back up by the crew. Hunter also writes that they promised a cheap concert in Newcastle to make it up. The ’72 Mott concert was 1 pound and I see you paid 28.50 in Whitley Bay – not sure if they ever returned for the cheap concert at the city hall. Anyway, Ian and Mott provided many happy nights over the years, We’re living in New York now, and he usually plays an annual residency at the City Winery, eighty years old or not, he is still the definitive “rock’n’roll star” and the Rant Band. are just great.. Ken.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on August 20, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Ken

      I have vague memories of them promising to return to the City Hall and I can’t remember if they ever did for the cheap/free concert. Very jealous that you are now in New York

      Happy days and happy memories Ken Best wishes Peter

      Reply

  5. Posted by Bryan on August 20, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Great stuff Peter!

    Ian & Mott have gained legendary status from the band that almost called it a day, in 1972. When David Bowie, heard of their imminent demise he offered them Suffragette City or Dudes & the rest is history. I’ve seen Mott, & Ian & The Rant Band on many occasions. They are as tight a unit as you’ll hear & the musicianship is top drawer. You’d expect nothing less from some of New York’s finest session players!

    Ian’s currently working on another album & if the tinnitus abates he’s hoping to hit the road again next year….subject to C-19 restrictions. I’m just hoping that the music halls that gave us all so much joy, will survive these awful times.

    Best wishes,

    Bryan

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on August 21, 2020 at 9:27 am

      Yes Bryan it is a terrible time for live music at the moment. Let’s hope next year is better and that we can see Ian Hunter back in the UK once more Best wishes Peter

      Reply

  6. Posted by Colin Powell on October 1, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    It was indeed a great gig. Seen Mott/Hunter at least 50 times including Norway, USA, Spain as well as Whitley Bay!

    Reply

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