TThe best returns are finely calibrated matters. In 2009, when 1970s glam-rock goliaths Mott the Hoople reformed after more than 30 years to perform live, Hosanna audiences and critics hailed their five-concert series at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. suggested that their return was nothing less than a second to come.
Four years later, the spotlight is on them a little harder. Sections of empty seats are scattered around the O2 and, while there is a palpable tidal wave of goodwill from their decidedly old-school fans, the night clearly lacks any magic or moments of sparkle. lively pop. In fact, it’s a bit of a chore.
With his mop on, sunglasses and mischievous swagger, frontman Ian Hunter is still staring at the role at 74, but it’s easy to forget that before David Bowie spread stardust on Mott in Leaving them to record All the Young Dudes in 1972, they were largely purveyors of headlong bluesy boogie. Tonight, the main ensemble is largely heavy, lumpen fare, and when two songs follow each other in snatches of The Kinks and The Rolling Stones, it points to the shortcomings of their own material. It doesn’t help that Hunter’s voice is now little more than a throaty rasp.
Amidst this muddy quagmire, classic singles shine like diamonds. The magnificent The Golden Age of Rock’n’roll and All the Way from Memphis remain exuberant and exuberant glam-rock anthems, living to their own glory and absurdity, while All the Young Dudes and Roll Away the Stone are gems of reminder. Unfortunately, they come too little and too late to save a show that simply feels like a comeback from too far.