At the Orpheum, Mott the Hoople goes back in time to 1974

It’s a cliché to call the vital artists of a certain vintage ‘ageless’, but here it is: Ian Hunter, who turns 80 on June 3, Tuesday night at the Orpheum led Mott the Hoople through a set of 105 minutes, singing each song, maintaining its distinctive Dylanesque-by-way-of-Bowie phrasing throughout, even shouting out some high-note highlights.

But, after all, Hunter was ‘old’, 30 when he joined this first generation glam band in 1969. Tuesday’s show was part of a ‘Mott the Hoople ’74’ reunion tour, – “First American tour in 45 years” – where Hunter was joined by Mott’s band mates, Morgan Fisher on piano and Ariel Bender (known in his non-Mott life as Luther Grosvenor), as well as by the Hunter’s usual support team, the Rant Band.

There has always been an elegiac streak in Mott’s glam roots – one of the first songs was “(Do You Remember) The Saturday Gigs”, and their first real hit, “All the Young Dudes” (written by David Bowie), had come after they had already decided to throw in the towel. The song revitalized their careers.

On Tuesday night, a recorded Bowie introduced the group, and they started off with “American Pie” (“The Day Music Died“), before embarking on their own “The Golden Age of Rock ‘n ‘roll “(” Everyone’s foggy, shocked and crazy “). At this point, the Orpheum crowd was singing. There was a lot of’ 50s style rock ‘n’ roll boogie (encouraged by the saxophone James Mastro’s tenor and Fisher’s eighth-note triplet chords), prog-oriented excursions (“Roll Away the Stone”), and the explicitly elegiac Peace “” Rest In “(” I wouldn’t want just one thing changes ”).

All the while, Hunter belittled himself with good humor, like when he said that certain words one wrote in youth “come back to embarrass you”, but he sang them anyway (“Sucker” – what he admitted was an awkward choice for the #MeToo era), although he changed the lyrics from “Violence” to “It doesn’t make sense.”

The final third of the show was fueled by a mix of these and other heavy riff originals (“Jerkin ‘Crocus”, “One of the Boys”, “Cleveland Rocks”) mixed with quotes from rock history. (“Johnny B. Goode”, “Whole Lotta Shakin ‘”, “You Really Got Me”).

The encore ensemble was the crowning glory of the revival reunion vibe – Fisher alone on stage warning the opening of “All the Way from Memphis,” the return of “Saturday Gigs” (“I Remember ’71 “), and an” All the Young Dudes “which brought together the opening band Dream Syndicate (who remembered opening for REM at the Orpheum” 35 years ago this month “) for vocals final. It was living history. With an emphasis on life.

Mott the Hoople

With the Syndicat des Rêves

At the Orpheum Theater, Tuesday evening.

Jon Garelick can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @jgarelick.

Previous Mott the Hoople skillfully revisits his musical heyday during sold-out show at Cleveland Masonic
Next Mott the Hoople '74 wrapped up their US tour at the Beacon Theater (photos / video / setlist)