Ian Hunter at Shepherd’s Bush Empire 4/10/14

I first got into Ian Hunter aged fifteen when I bought a second-hand version of Mott the Hoople’s Mott album. Everything about it appealed to me: Hunter’s eccentric but instantly recognisable vocals, Mick Ralphs‘ guitar, the pounding rock piano, the catchy and highly memorable songs. I was a fan straight away and soon began scouring the second-hand shops for other Mott the Hoople albums. Then I moved on to Hunter’s solo career. And while it’s true that some lead singers from classic name bands went on to make some pretty ropey solo albums, I was pleasantly surprised when I bought Hunter’s You’re Never Alone With A Schizophrenic to find that his solo albums were equally brilliant, too. So it’s fair to say that I’ve followed his career closely for well over thirty years now, eagerly buying every new album as it’s released, seeing him solo on numerous occasions as well as catching both Mott the Hoople reunions.

And so to tonight. Shepherd’s Bush Empire is a wonder in itself. It’s always great to be inside this old Edwardian music hall, seeing it given renewed life as one of London’s iconic rock venues. It’s no stranger to live performances from Mr Hunter and is the perfect setting for this, the last night of the tour. After the support band finish Hunter saunters on stage about 9pm, every inch the cool rock star. It’s scarcely believable he’s now 75 years of age and it’s even more unbelievable he still continues to write, record and perform highly original and consistently good songs that continue to attract glowing reviews. Although he is shrewd enough not to disappoint audiences who want to be able to celebrate some of the classic songs from his earlier career, he has eschewed a life of constantly touring mere greatest hits packages, however. Tonight therefore, we get brilliantly original songs from his more recent career, like When I’m President and Girl From the Office, alongside older solo standards, like Once Bitten Twice Shy and Irene Wilde, as well as a smattering of Mott the Hoople classics, like All the Way from Memphis and I Wish I was Your Mother. It’s a great mix and the quality of the songwriting shines throughout, as does Hunter’s wonderfully distinctive voice which has not diminished with age. He is assisted by his excellent  five-piece backing band, The Rant Band, who each display incredible musicianship, from the slower more poignant ballads to the all-out rockers.

As the main setlist comes to an end and the crowd loudly call for an encore Hunter, invites old bandmate, Mick Ralphs, on to the stage and they launch into Roll Away the Stone, Life (a new Hunter anthemic sing-along from his last studio album) and the inevitable but still brilliant All the Young Dudes.  Indisputable evidence that Ian Hunter remains one of the most interesting and entertaining artists on the planet.

Setlist:
(I’m The) Teacher
Once Bitten Twice Shy
Comfortable (Flyin’ Scotsman)
Something To Believe In
Now Is The Time
When I’m President
Boy
I Wish I Was Your Mother
All American Alien Boy
Black Tears
All the Way from Memphis
Irene Wilde
Flowers
Wash Us Away
Girl From the Office
23A, Swan Hill
Bastard
Ta Shunka Witco (Crazy Horse)
Sweet Jane
– Encore – (with Mick Ralphs):
Roll Away the Stone
Life / All the Young Dudes / (Miss) Silver Dime
Goodnight, Irene

http://ianhunter.com/main/

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4 thoughts on “Ian Hunter at Shepherd’s Bush Empire 4/10/14

  1. Having been a Mott fan for a long while now, last night was the first time I’ve seen Ian perform with the Rant Band. I took my wife and 24 year old daughter who finally heaved a sigh of relief when she spotted a teenager in the audience, until then she felt very, very, very young! However, she was sufficiently impressed with the gig and I wanted to introduce her further to Ian Hunter’s work starting with the set list from last night. Sadly I cannot now remember it in full. Can you help?

    Like

  2. I did check the website mentioned by Darren and, with a bit of mouse clicking, I did find Saturday’s set list. Thank you both for taking the time to answer.

    Liked by 1 person

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