NOTICE: Mott the Hoople, Manchester Academy

Ian Hunter reunited with his Mott the Hoople bandmate Morgan Fisher and Aeriel Bender for the first time in 45 years for a show most fans had long given up hope of attending.

Hunter’s current outfit, The Rant Band, provided the backbone of the show, allowing the three Amigos to step back in time.

A recording by David Bowie featuring the band all those years ago followed by the rousing introductory music of I Vow to Thee My Country has left many middle-aged gentlemen in the audience a bit wet around their eyes.

Hunter took to the stage, reflecting the nuances and shock of the loops, to sing the opening bars of American Pie.

“The day the music died …… or did it?” he roared before the band embarked on the golden age of rock and roll. But make no mistake, it was not a nostalgic trip, it was not a dreaded “heritage” act passing through the movements.

No, it was a rock and roll show.

Fisher on keyboards and Bender on guitar were replacements in Mott’s original lineup, playing with the band for only a year and both had the expression of children being let loose in the confectionery – cheerful and yet not quite believing that the opportunity had presented itself.

But they grabbed it with both hands. Fisher, who got champagne served by a roadie in the first song – with a dayglo ice bucket next to his piano, as you do – added an extra dimension to the sound. Bender, who Hunter described as the jester of the group, certainly lived up to the bill.

In his signature beret, he growled, pouted, and shredded his guitar. Unfortunately, a few technical issues often put his work on the muffler, but he remained the showman throughout.

At the heart of it all was Hunter, who in a few weeks will become the coolest octogenarian in the world. Man is a marvel – whatever he does, he should patent it.

The rock and roll star remains in every inch.

The setlist was to be cherished with hits such as Roll Away the Stone and Honaloochie Boogie sitting between fan favorites Pearl n Boy and Marionette.

A cover of Velvet’s Sweet Jane threatened to bring down the roof of the place and the encore of All the Way From Memphis, Saturday Gigs and finally All the Young Dudes was the perfect way to end this special night.

Behind these nuances, Hunter remains quite impenetrable, but it can be said that the enthusiastic reception meant a lot to him and the rest of the group. The show had certainly meant a lot to those of us who were lucky enough to be there.

Previous Mott the Hoople - lives in Philadelphia
Next Review: Mott the Hoople, Symphony Hall, Birmingham