It may be Monday night but this evening’s Ian Hunter and the Rant Band concert at the Sage Gateshead is well and truly sold out.
Fans watch on from the many tiers of 360-degree balconies which surround the stage at the Sage Gateshead. This gives the room a large yet at the same time intimate feel, which creates a unique atmosphere during the course of the show.
Having been a regular visitor to the North East of England during his fifty-plus year career members of the audience reminisce about Ian Hunter’s many shows in the region during days gone by. This includes the time Queen opened for Mott the Hoople at Newcastle City Hall back in 1973, which at the time would have cost you just 80p for a ticket.
Earlier this year Ian Hunter released his incredible 22nd solo record Fingers Crossed and of course several numbers from the album are included in the show this evening including set opener “That’s When The Trouble Starts”. A live debut is also given to the incredibly infectious “Bow Street Runners”, which has a chorus that stays with you for days.
As his fans would want and expect Hunter’s career spanning set is packed full of his greatest hits including the classic “Once Bitten Twice Shy” from his 1975 self-titled debut album, which was, of course, recorded following his departure from Mott the Hoople.
Hunter takes his position behind his trusty keyboard for many numbers including the rather funky “All American Alien Boy” and the up-tempo “Cleveland Rocks”, which all feature in the first half of the show. Song after song is greeted with rapturous applause from the Tyneside audience.
Ian Hunter reminisces about writing “Honaloochie Boogie” with his former Mott the Hoople bandmate Mick Ralphs, who is currently recovering from a stroke following the recent Bad Company tour.
Throughout the evening, Hunter pays heartfelt tributes to his fallen friends including David Bowie with a track from his latest offering titled “Dandy” and to his former Mott the Hoople bandmate Mick Ronson with the beautiful number “Michael Picasso”.
The band brings their main set to a close with the incredible “23a Swan Hill” and the Mott inspired take on the Velvet Underground classic “Sweet Jane”, which leaves the audience wanting more – cheers of “Hunter” reverberate around the room.
As the band returns to the stage, Ian Hunter donning his trademark shades and clutching a glass of champagne is the epitome of cool. He leads the band into the timeless classics “All the Way from Memphis” and the David Bowie penned “All The Young Dudes”. These are numbers which provided the soundtrack to a generation and they still sound as fresh as they did back in the day. The evening is brought to a close with a cover of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight Irene”.
Ian Hunter is one of Britain’s true rock n’ roll troubadours and one of the great singer-songwriters of our time and he is showing no signs of slowing down.
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