The first Mott The Hoople convention was held at the Robin 2, Bilston (near Wolverhampton, England) on 17th April 1999. A small venue, it was none the less packed with fans - amazing for a band that disbanded some 25 years before! The proceedings consisted of a number of stalls selling merchandise, a few ex band members signing autographs, and related artists performing live. The whole lot was filmed, and is at long last available as an official video.
First up were tribute band Nott The Hoople, specially put together for the occasion by long-time fan Julian Turner-Bell. You all know who Julian is, tall long-haired bloke and veteran of many Ian Hunter gigs, the guy just looks like a rock star and so had no trouble taking the front-man role (someone told me he is actually a drummer). Three tracks of their set top and tail the video, although it is still obvious that Julian doesn't touch his guitar at all (it being slung around his neck for effect) resulting in a rather thin sound. The apparently subdued audience reaction is more a fault of the recording, there being no audience mics one would normally find at a live recording.
Next up was Steve Hyams (long-time friend of Mott The Hoople, and who was nearly Ian's replacement at the end of 1974), promoting his then new album Feather And A Tomahawk, ably assisted by Mott/British Lions guitarist Ray Majors. The CD's good, and so was this performance.
John Fiddler (ex Medicine Head and British Lions vocalist) was next with a solo set with John playing guitar and harp. One of the highlights of the day, it is a shame only two tracks are included here. Ray Majors intended to join John for One More Chance To Run, but sadly the plan failed when John's spare guitar refuced to work until the last two chords.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly Verden Allen's performance. He played tracks from his excellent Long Time No See (two of which are included here) was well as closing with Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes, Verden cheekily ad-libbing at the end (just like Ian!).
The video intersperses the live performances with interviews with the likes of Ian Hunter, Luther Grosvenor, Verden Allen and Joe Elliott (Def Leppard vocalist and long time Mott The Hoople fan). My only complaint is that it doesn't show much of what else was going on in the hall (at times it was positively heaving).
All in all, this is an excellent souvenir of an excellent day. Yes, it did bring back a few memories, so if you were there you'll definitely want to own this, and if you were'nt then this goes a long way to demonstrating what the day was all about. And yes, the video is available in NTSC (USA) format as well as PAL (European), so you've got no excuses!
This video is available from Jerkin' Crocus Productions. For ordering (in either PAL or NTSC format) see their website.