Blimey – seven years ago…


My (sort of) review of the gig back then.

I’m crashed out on a mate’s couch listening to Mott the Hoople. Thirty five years previous I was crashed out on a mate’s couch listening to Mott the Hoople. Miles apart. Different mates. Probably drinking lager and definitely listening to The Ballad of Mott.

Then was Wigan, Lancashire. Schoolmates listening to the music we all loved. Mott, Bowie, Cockney Rebel, Roxy, Sparks and others. Dreaming of London and beautiful women called Angeline and Judy Teen with all our lives ahead of us. Going to gigs and kissing the girls and having deep discussions about Mick Ralphs and Phil Manzanera and all our fucking lives ahead of us.

To university – or in my case a job in a bank. Had so many dreams and went for a job in a fucking bank – it didn’t last but it took it me to London and beautiful girls and music. Always music. Mott was over. Cockney Rebel was over but we had our vinyl. Sparks and Roxy were just about hanging on and Bowie was Bowie. Ian Hunter was still there and one night we’re out from work. All our gang. All getting pissed. And the last to leave are me, Gavin and Geoff. And Gavin starts singing: “And her name was Irene Wilde oh such beauty for a child. ” 

Geoff joins in and I join in and we never knew that we all loved Ian Hunter.

Of course in turn we all love Mott. We’d all been crashed out on mates couches as schoolkids. Gavin in East London and Geoff in Manchester and now the three of us are drunkenly belting out Irene Wilde and Saturday Gigs in a West End pub at kicking out time.

Now almost thirty years later I’m on Geoff’s couch in a flat in Muswell Hill. I’ve travelled two hundred miles to drink lager and drunkenly belt out Irene Wilde and Saturday Gigs. It’s the early hours of a Thursday morning the first of October 2009 and later we’re going watching Mott the Hoople at the Hammersmith Odeon. Mott the fucking Hoople…

A few hours sleep, a hearty breakfast and a few more beers watching the world and beautiful girls go by with the autumn of our lives ahead of us. Aching in the places where we used to play as Leonard so beautifully put it. Tube to Hammersmith and beers by the magnificent river that rolls by. More beers and into a packed pub in Hammersmith where men and women our age smile and laugh. Until it thins out and we make our way to the Odeon and inside and Hymn for the Dudes. To our “seats” where we stand and sing and smile and dance all night. They are brilliant – despite the odd sound problems – this is rock and roll not lip-synching fucking X Factor at the end of the day – and then we shed tears as Buffin is led on and up to his kit. But he’s still got it. He hasn’t lost his child-like dreams.

All there – even Stan on backing vocals, Overend still a rock and roll star – in fact the whole rock ‘n roll circus is in town.

As the gig reaches a crescendo and Saturday Gigs closes the show three and a half thousand tear-stained voices gently caress the refrain of Goodbye into the clear crisp late summer night…

It all made sense. Been to many a reunion show lately but this was totally different. Felt a whole lot different. Meant a whole lot more and that’s because Mott the Hoople always did feel different. Always meant so much more. Always will…

As a footnote I know Gavin would have been there one of the nights and if by a miracle of modern worldwideweb stuff you see this – as the great Mick Jones said on Stay Free:

“Have a drink on me.”

Oh and before anybody says anything it’s the Hammersmith Odeon what ever it may say above the door…

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