Gig review: MOTT THE HOOPLE – London O2 Arena,18 November 2013

Mott The Hoople - London O2 Arena, 18 November 2013

After a successful reunion tour back in 2009 Mott The Hoople where they only played in London, they were back for a UK tour culminating at the O2 Arena which had a very good turnout especially as it was a Monday night.

Due to pass delays sadly missed Fish’s opening set but made it in time for Thunder who played a great set, keeping it to their more familiar songs given they were supporting, although they had a lot of fans in the audience.

Kicking off with ‘Dirty Love’ the set flowed well and vocalist Danny Bowes was in good form ribbing the audience for being too quiet and telling them off good naturedly for joining in at the end of ‘Low Life In High Places’.

The whole band seemed to be having fun and Luke Morley was doing Pete Townshend approved jumps on a couple of songs. Two highlights were ‘Loved Walked In’, a song that always has more power live then on album and ‘I Love You More Than Rock ‘N’ Roll’, one of their best songs from their more recent albums. Thunder always put on a great show and never disappoint, long may they continue to do so.

Mott The Hoople - London O2 Arena, 18 November 2013

Mott The Hoople feature their classic line-up of Pete ‘Overend’ Watts, Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs and Verden Allen, although sadly drummer Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin was missing due to ill health. His place was taken by Martin Chambers of the Pretenders fame and he powered the songs along, a very good drummer and well suited to the band’s material.

The crowd were slightly older than most gigs I go to, although they still knew how to rock ‘n’ roll, albeit with a quick sit down on the slower songs! Chatting to a fan next to me he recalled their 1973 tour and the 2009 tour saying he expected tonight to be enjoyable if a little shambolic in parts as that has always been the Mott The Hoople way. He was also worried if he would remember all the words – I can report he remembered them all.

Mott The Hoople - London O2 Arena, 18 November 2013

Ian Hunter still has that rock star aura on stage with his shades, mass of curly hair and Maltese Cross guitar. For most of the night he hit the notes too, bar a couple of times when he did blame the night before at Manchester.

Early set highlights were Pete Overend Watts, resplendent in a pink suit top, taking the mic stand for ‘Born Late ‘58’ and the extended work out on ‘Death May Be Your Santa Claus’ with a quick dip into the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’.

Mott The Hoople - London O2 Arena, 18 November 2013

‘Ballad Of Mott The Hoople’ was a poignant moment with images of the band in their 70’s heyday shown on a screen behind the band with a nice cheer from the crowd when Dale Griffin’s photograph was shown.

With Ian Hunter seated at the piano we had ‘When My Mind’s Gone’/’No Wheels to Ride’/’The Journey’ before the best known songs kicked in towards the end of the set starting with ‘Honaloochie Boogie’, a song to get even the most reluctant foot tapping. Next up ‘The Golden Age Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and then the unmistakable piano riff that heralded ‘All The Way From Memphis’, which got the crowd in full voice.

Mott The Hoople - London O2 Arena, 18 November 2013

No surprise to see Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott (a massive fan of all things Mott and Ian Hunter) on stage for the first encore song ‘All The Young Dudes’, their most recognisable tune for people who are not fans of the band. This was quickly followed by ‘Roll Away The Stone’ and ‘Saturday Gigs’, bringing to close an enjoyable night’s music and the audience certainly seemed to enjoy themselves.

I was too young to see them in their heyday (honest!), however I am very glad to have finally seen them. Hopefully they will back to tour again at some point as all four band members still tour either solo or in other bands and still record new music (Verden Allen has released a new album earlier this year on Angel Air).

Review by Jason Ritchie
Photos by Steve Goudie

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