Live Review: Hunter/ Ronson, Hammersmith Odeon, 18th February, 1990

Returning to these shores from the sunnier climes of the American West Coast, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson could arguably be accused of jumping on the band wagon that so many stars of yesteryear have used recently to relaunch flagging careers.

Tonight, Hunter's prowling figure stalked the stage looking very much the rock star in his shades and curly blond hair. The band opened with a ballsy version of Once Bitten Twice Shy, a recent hit for Great White although an original Hunter composition. This was what the audience had come for - no nonsense rock n' roll, a stage stripped of all unnecessary paraphernalia, just amps; our two heroes on guitar along with a drummer, bass, and keyboard player.

In vocal style, Hunter's voice sounds like a cross between Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, and Ray Davies, and while the overall performance was very tight and solid, our two front men were perhaps starting to show their age in that they didn't quite seem to have the energy of their supporting musicians!

They continued through a set comprising of numbers from their new album, along with old favourites and songs they liked doing because they were "really good songs." Tell It Like It Is had Hunter displaying his dexterity on the air guitar (albeit a strange shape in Mr Hunter's case!) whilst Ronson proved with the real thing why he is in such demand as guest guitarist on so many people's records.

With lyrics like "New York City's the best" and the song American Music, the boys' current preferences for life across the pond was somewhat hinted at (the fact that it also makes it easier to get things played on the FM stations over there would have nothing to do with it of course!).

Numbers from the new album included Pain in which Hunter proved he can still do all the rock poses on stage, whilst the instrumental Sweet Dreamer, allowed to Mr Ronson to show off his guitar techniques. As Hunter introduced Ronson on vocals, his warning for us not to get too excited was completely unfounded as this former Spider From Mars led the band into the Lou Reed penned Bowie hit White Light/ White Heat.

The loudest cheer of the evening came when Hunter on keyboard began the unmistakable opening chords of All The Way From Memphis. Then, out of nowhere, a certain guitarist from Queen bounced across the stage. The grinning performance of Brian May helped turn this into a storming version of the classic Mott The Hoople song.

For their first encore, the band performed a raunchy little number from the new album, The Loner, whilst the second encore commenced with another of those US-themed songs Cleveland Rocks.

The "older members of the audience" were then remembered as the ex-Hoople launched into All The Young Dudes, that Bowie number written especially for the Hooples which launched them to international success all those years ago. This version turned into a medley incorporating other Hoople hits such as Roll Away The Stone, before returning to the Dudes. At the end of the number Hunter gave a special mention to a young lady at the front of the audience to whom he'd been making suggestive gestures with his guitar, "You in the Polyester, I'm lusting after ya!" His missus standing at the side of the stage did not look as if she approved!

The evening closed with Ronson playing an atmospheric guitar piece before Hunter announced that it had been "a pleasure doing business with you." With a performance lasting over two-and-a-quarter hours, victims of the bandwagon or not, it had been a pleasure doing business with them too!

Roger Evans
Riff Raff
April 1990

Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment