Review: Mott the Hoople, Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Mott the Hoople turned the clock back 45 years in Birmingham to romp through a set of songs from the band's glory year of 1974, when they were reputed to be one of the finest live rock bands in the world.
Ian Hunter's group took to the stage at Symphony Hall to the strains of Gustav Holst's I Vow to Thee My Country before launching into a version of Don McLean's American Pie that acted as the intro to Mott classic The Golden Age of Rock 'N' Roll.
Oswestry-born Hunter belied his 79 years as he led an eight-piece version of Mott in a tour de force performance of songs from 1974 album The Hoople and the classic live album of the same year.
In his trademark sunglasses and still with a healthy – if grey – head of hair, Hunter was in great energetic form with his voice holding up through a lengthy and demanding set.
Singles Honaloochie Boogie and Roll Away the Stone were highlights of a great night with delighted fans singing along.
There was also a terrific cover version of the Velvet Underground's Sweet Jane to savour.
The band – including 72-year-old Luther Grosvenor, aka Ariel Bender, still delivering his guitar solos with gusto, and keyboard player Morgan Fisher, 69, brilliant on piano – delivered in style throughout a set that never lost pace despite some early sound problems.
Album songs like Lounge Lizard, Rest in Peace, Walking With a Mountain and Marionette were all greeted enthusiastically and Motf finished the main set with a fantastic medley of their own songs including One of the Boys and Crash Street Kids with rock 'n' roll favourites like Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On, Mean Woman Blues and Johnny B Goode.
Mott the Hoople returned to deliver a fantastic three-song encore with Morgan Fisher teasing the intro from the fantastic All the Way from Memphis until the full band took to the stage. A thrilling version of Saturday Gigs followed before the group put the icing on the cake for the night with the song everyone wanted to hear – David Bowie's All the Young Dudes, which Mott the Hoople long ago made their own.
Earlier support band Tax the Heat, from Bristol, delivered a loud and rocking set featuring many songs from album Change Your Position. The title tack and All That Medicine along with Highway Home were standouts with singer and guitarist Alex Veale and Brummie lead guitarist JP Jacyshyn outstanding.