Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter

Ian Hunter's 1997 UK Tour - Rhyl

Different type of venue to Chester. Rhyl is a slightly tacky slightly run down seaside resort on the North Wales coast. I say that even though my parents live there and i was born and brought up further down the North Wales coast and every childhood holiday I had was spent there. I am definitely getting more particular as I get older. Anyway the New Pavilion was built as an add on to the Sun centre which is a glass covered swimming pool type complex, so it's new with good facilities, big stage etc etc and can hold 900 people. In the event there were about 150 of us, and in Ian's own words "small but stalwart" and we tried our best to give him the reception he deserves and I thought he played his heart out and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In a previous e-mail I had warned about an early start and sure enough at 7.55 a tannoy message asked everyone to take their seats and Ian came on at about 8.15 and played through till about 10.15. The last 4 songs were split into 2 (yes 2) encores. After the usual intro there were shouts for Walking With a Mountain so that what he played! That replaced Who Do You Love which he did at Chester. The same bloke was there shouting for The Outsider but requests for Honaloochie Boogie were met with "No Way!" and Overnight Angels with "I don't like that album". Somewhere near the end Ian stood there and said something like "Well here I am, a 70's has been, small crowds, is it all over, LIKE F***K IT IS!".

After it was over we went back stage. My kids were thrilled, took some photos, and he signed a CD cover for my son. It always strikes me how patient he is and how willing he is to meet his fans.

His parting words to me were "Come and see me again". I can't refuse him, all I've got to do is work out how I can to at least 1 more gig without unduly upsetting my wife!

Last thing - It was nice to meet Mike Bunyard (another subscriber here), he's over in the UK from San Fransisco on business and took the trouble to drive what must have been the best part of 300 miles to get to see Ian. I'm sure he'll post his own thoughts and reflections on the night.

Set list was:

Forgot to mention this! For virtually the whole of the concert Daryll was dive bombed by some sort of flying insect. It seemed to only pick on him - draw your own conclusions!

(Dave Davies)

Dave Davies did a great job of summarizing last night's Rhyl gig. (By the way, he has great looking kids, and it was a great night to bring the kids along to see Ian). I have some additional personal observations.

I work in California but have business that takes me to Europe a few times a year. (In fact, Dave Davies works for a customer of my company's product, so perhaps I should have expensed the gig as a business expense!) In any case, I planned my trip to the U.K. around Ian's latest tour. This allowed me the opportunity to drive to Rhyl to see my hero. I've seen Ian live over 20 times since 1979 when I was a young teen and saw Ian live in Berkeley, Calif on the YNAWAS tour. After driving from 3:30 in the London area to Rhyl, we arrived at 7:30 at our hotel across from the New Pavilion. Although Rhyl had a reputation as a run-down resort area, it seemed fine to me. It seemed rather crazy to walk into the theater-style seating area where smoking or drinking were not allowed as early as 8:15 p.m. to see Ian! I was embarrassed that only 100-150 people populated the theater which held several hundred. As Dave said, our "small but stalwart" crowd did our best to show our appreciation, and Ian took everything with a positive attitude, but I would have much preferred a packed, intimate pub to the atmosphere at the New Pavilion.

Ian had a great 2 hour set that was a bit mellow. It reminded me of "Ian Unplugged". In fact, he played acoustic guitar on 17 out of 19 songs! The band seemed to have progressed a lot since I'd seem them in Cambridge in May. 23A Swan Hill was a highlight for me. After the gig was over, I bought my new tour T-shirt, and went backstage to say hello to Ian. Ian was stylishly dressed in a hat and overcoat, and was quite chatty. I took a quick picture with him and asked the key question, "When are you going to tour in the U.S?" Ian replied that he didn't know. He said that he is big in certain places, but it is costly and problematic to haul a band across the entire U.S. Us yanks can only hope for the best. All in all it was a great night where although the venue was sub-standard, Ian did not disappoint. I copped a tour poster from the marquee on my way out to round out my list of souvenirs. I took a roll of film and think I got some good shots. I'll forward my photos to Adrian Perkins for posting on his home page. It was a great night!

Mike Bunyard