At The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., April 23, 2019

MOTT THE HOOPLE (Live at The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., April 23, 2019)
Photo: Mick Burgess

David Bowie famously talked Mott The Hoople out of splitting up by gifting them All The Young Dudes, a song that went on to become their highest charting single and a bona fide Rock classic, kickstarting their faltering career in the process and the rest, as they say, is history.

It’s been six years since Mott The Hoople last graced the stages of the North with pretty much the original lineup of the band but for this show it was the turn of the Class of ’74 featuring Morgan Fisher on keyboards and the wonderfully eccentric Ariel Bender on guitar joining original singer Ian Hunter and his Rant Band for a show built around their 1974 albums, The Hoople and Live as well as a few classics and B-sides thrown in for good measure.

The Golden Age Of Rock ‘n’Roll with its American Pie intro was the perfect opener and summed up the band in one song with its flamboyant swagger, Honky Tonk piano and parping saxophone, a pure celebration of everything that was great back in 1974.

With the Alice and The Hoople era B-side, Lounge Lizard, up next this was a dream come true for long-time fans and for those more into the singles, Honaloochie Boogie was every bit as boppy as the title suggests.

At 79, Ian Hunter with his shock on blond curls and dark shades exudes cool and for an hour an a half his age defying performance put men half his age to shame and with his unique voice undiminished by time the likes of Sweet Jane, the mandolin infused I Wish I Was Your Mother and the cowbell clanking Sucker, sounded every bit as good a they did back in the day.

While Hunter stood fairly static centre stage focussing on the music, Ariel Bender took the opportunity to throw every guitar hero shape in the book but Morgan Fisher wasn’t about to let Bender grab all of the limelight as he played the beautiful intro to Rest In Peace while his own personal waiter uncorked a bottle of champagne and raised a toast to the crowd.

Strapping on his iconic Maltese Cross guitar, Hunter read out a glowing endorsement of Ariel Bender…hand written by Bender himself before blasting into a storming Walking With A Mountain and the supreme Roll Away The Stone complete with Ronette’s style backing vocals.

Solving the age old conundrum of how to close the main set with a bang when there’s so many songs to choose from was easily solved with the 15 minute Medley incorporating One Of The Boys, Rock ‘n’Roll Queen, Crash Street Kids and Cleveland Rocks with Rock ‘n’Roll classics Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, You Really Got Me and Johnny B. Goode. “If that doesn’t get you up out of your seats then nothing will”, Hunter implored as the crowd rose from their seats.

All The Way From Memphis, the beautifully nostalgic Saturday Gigs, the last Mott The Hoople single recorded by Hunter and the only one to feature Mick Ronson and the evergreen All The Young Dudes brought the curtain down on the Class Of ’74 and what a lesson in Rock ‘n’ Roll we had all received.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • 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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