at City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., November 16, 2013

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Mott The Hoople last graced the stage at the City Hall. It was more of a case of all the old dudes as Ian Hunter and co. returned for their first show in the region for over four decades.

After reuniting for a series of 40th anniversary shows in London in 2009 the clamour for a tour gathered pace resulting in a limited number of shows around the country and Newcastle was fortunately included on the list.

Unlike most bands of their era Mott the Hoople can still boast a high quotient of original members with frontman Ian Hunter alongside guitarist Mick Ralphs who after originally leaving the band formed Bad Company with Free’s Paul Rodgers; bassist Pete Overend Watts and keyboard player Verden Allen all present and correct. Only original drummer Dale “Buffin” Griffin was absent due to ill health with his place taken by The Pretenders Martin Chambers.

Mott the Hoople

Although Ian Hunter may be nearing his 75th birthday he still cut a striking pose on stage with his trademark mop of curly hair and dark shades. His voice for most part stood up pretty well to the ravages of time as the band took the crowd on an unashamedly nostalgic ride back to the glory days of 70s Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Occupying a unique place between Hard Rock and Glam Rock, Mott the Hoople were one of the few bands of their day who could cross the musical divide with ease. From the hard driving “Born Late ’58” featuring Watts on lead vocals to the mellow “Waterflow” to the star spangled glam of “Honaloochie Boogie” all the bases were covered.

It was however the latter section of the show that really shook it up with a rapid fire wham bam of gold plated hits with a gloriously rambunctious “Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” more than living up to its name quickly followed by “All The Way from Memphis” and the timeless Bowie penned classic “All The Young Dudes” featuring a cameo from uber fan Joe Elliott from Def Leppard.

Mott the Hoople

As the evening drew to a close there was still time for an uplifting “Roll Away the Stone” and who could possibly resist such a glitter encrusted chorus from Hunter and his backing vocalists featuring various members of the Hunter and Ralphs clan.

With its poignant lyrics and vintage video montage “Saturday Gigs” was the perfect way to end the show as each member stopped playing one by one leaving the crowd singing “goodbye” as the band took their bows. A truly moving experience.

Nostalgic it may well have been but who cares when the music and the performance where as sweet as this and one can only hope that this was not the last time we’’ll see Mott the Hoople on the road again.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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