Mott The Hoople and Ian Hunter

Ian Hunter's 1997 UK Tour - Haslingden

Venue was the local Public Hall. Easy to find with Gavin's map. Haslingden is a small town north of Manchester. Didn't see too much of it as it was dark and raining and a bit misty. Probably looks OK on a sunny day but I guess they don't get too many of them. Set list:

  1. Once Bitten Twice Shy
  2. Who Do you Love
  3. Angeline
  4. Boy (better than brilliant!)
  5. Now Is The Time
  6. Something To Believe In
  7. I Wish I Was Your Mother
  8. 23A Swan Hill
  9. Resurrection Mary
  10. Waterlow
  11. F**k It Up (How am I going to explain that to my wife when the kids start singing it?)
  12. Bastard
  13. Just Another Night
  14. Roll Away The Stone

Encore 1

  1. Letter to Britannia (first verse then Ian says "I've forgotten the rest")
  2. All The Way From Memphis
  3. Irene Wilde

Encore 2

  1. Cleveland Rocks (Roadie had set up the acoustic for Michael Picasso but Ian picked up another guitar saying "I'm not done yet!")
  2. Michael Picasso
  3. All The Young Dudes (With Saturday Gigs thrown in for good measure!)

At the start of the second encore Ian asked for requests saying if you shout it out I'll play it. Someone asked for All American Alien Boy to which Ian replied "sing the first line and I'll have a go" so it was duly sung but I think he was always going to do Cleveland Rocks anyway. Darrell started playing Sweet Caroline by Quo but it didn't put Ian off.

As the band carried on playing Dudes Ian went off. Darrell held a band conflab and they started Dudes from the beginning again. Ian came back on shouting "Come on get off , off, off off".

Afterwards had a chat with Mrs. H who was running the stall selling T-shirts, the book and CD's. She says she "lurks" on the news group but is too embarrassed to post anything. But maybe she is worried about us bombarding her with e-mails etc so maybe we should respect her privacy given her unique position in all of this and confirm to her that if she does post stuff then we will only reply to the list unless she specifically says otherwise! (Just an idea). Gavin got her to sign his copy of a CD cover and had his photo taken with her and it's a good job I told him who she was before hand because he says he was going to chat her up! Meeting Ian again afterwards was again a big thrill for me and for Gavin (hope your photo comes out OK).

Some questions Gavin asked and answers as best as I can remember them, they are not direct quotes, if Gavin reads this maybe he can add to it and correct it. I do wish I'd had a tape recorder!

"Do you miss Mick a lot?" To be honest I don't think about it a lot now. You have to move on. It was terrible at the time. he was my best mate although musically we weren't playing a lot together but the families hung out and the kids grew up together.

"So why are you doing all this?" Basically I enjoy it. I don't need the money. If I was prudent then I've got enough that I needn't work again but its good fun. I like playing to smaller audiences, its more direct, you can communicate on a 1 to 1 level. It's also gratifying to see new people coming to a gig and then seeing them turn up at another one. There were 200 or so at Hastings and 120 of them must have been local. I've had my fill of playing big venues. I really like the band, we're having fun.

"What about America?" Great place to live, great standard of living, but not so good for touring, it can take 10 hours to get somewhere but in the UK 3 hours gets you nearly everywhere and it's much the same in Europe.

"Another album?" Sure, I've got one half written but I can't write on the road, it's too busy, too much to do. I need time and space. Also I have to tinker with a song so I can write something then throw it away and come back to it.

"You had a lay off, why?" Basically the "muse" left me and it left Mick as well. The 80's were a bad time for me, definitely the worst time of my life.

Finally - Tony - hope you got home safely and I'll be in touch when I've developed the photos!

Several things which I've since remembered.

Since the last time I saw Ian, Alan Young has had his hair dyed blond. My daughter thought he looked cute, but then she likes Ronan from Boyzown and Peter Andre.

Ian said he felt that the Internet was going to be important in music distribution. He has a fairly low opinion of music distributors in general and thinks there maybe an opportunity to do something via the net in future..

Trudi said that Mick Ronson's mum will be at the York concert tonight - but someone else said they thought it was to be at Cleethorpes on Thursday.

Ian said that Dirty Laundry won't get a UK release. The market for such an album in the UK is about 3000 and it's done more than that on imports already.

The Michael Picasso single should be out within the next 2 weeks.

(Dave Davies)

Firstly, it was great to meet Dave Davies and his two lovely children. Lucy is 12 and evidently has the hots for Alan Young (a definite improvement over Peter Andre!) and Tim is 14, is a budding fretmeister and prefers Black Sabbath to Oasis. The lad will go far!

I have to admit that although I have always been a fan of Ian Hunter's music I have only seen him play live once before - in 1974! Consequently for the past few weeks I have been unbearable to all who know me, my sole topic of conversation being Ian Hunter. Tuesday couldn't come quickly enough for me. I picked my children up from school and on the way home called in at the venue in the hope of seeing the band doing their soundcheck. No such luck. The equipment was being unloaded so I had a quick chat with the roadie and then nipped into the hall just to drink in a bit of the atmosphere.

Although I only live 5 miles from Haslingden I was determined not to be late. I knew that the doors weren't going to open until 7 but I got there at 6.30 and waited outside on my own in the rain for the next half hour. Sad aren't I? When the doors opened I went into the bar where the band were already installed having a swift half before the show. I went over and started chatting with them and a nicer bunch you couldn't wish to meet. Darrell looked like he had been dragged through a hedge backwards, Ian Gibbons is tiny, Cuddles is incredibly tall (and it was his 29th birthday the following day), Trevor was having a good laugh with Darrell (I think Cuddles was the object of their humour!) and Alan was telling me what a thoroughly nice bloke Ian Hunter is (apparently he is a friend of Ian's daughter and when Ian was looking for a drummer she happened to mention Alan's name and he got the gig).

I don't really know what I expected of the show but my overriding impression was how good the band are. Both Darrell and Cuddles are fine guitarists. Darrell really shone during Boy and both were awesome in the middle of Bastard trading licks, while the powerful rhythm section kept the whole thing together. As the show went on they all seemed to be enjoying themselves more and more, especially Darrell who by the end was positively jigging around the stage! Ian himself was quiet to start with but after a few numbers was joking with the crowd (does a bare 200 constitute a crowd?). He looks really well and much younger that his years. His voice is still in pretty good shape too (maybe the highest notes aren't quite there any more). I have to agree with all of the other people who have said that Waterlow is a highlight. He sings it so tenderly, it really is a beautiful song. The encores were fantastic, the band were really up for it by this time. Right at the start of Memphis Darrell broke a string which messed up the guitar fills. He was totally unfazed by this and just missed out various notes with a big grin all over his face! Afterwards I had a chat with Mrs Hunter who is a real cutie (thanks for the tip-off Dave!) and who is very shy. It was all I could do to get her to sign my CD cover. We hung around a little while and eventually got shown into the inner sanctum to meet the Great Man. This obviously made the night for me, especially as he is what everyone says he is, i.e. a thoroughly nice bloke. He answered my inane questions patiently and at length and was in no hurry to get rid of us. Thanks to Dave for posting what Ian said - I was so bowled over by the occasion that I could scarcely remember afterwards what I had asked him, let alone the answers!

And that was that. Eventually everyone drifted away and I was left standing outside alone in the rain, just as I had been 6 hours earlier. The end of a magical night!

For any of you out there who haven't been to a gig yet, my advice is get yourself a ticket asap. Ian and the band are in fine form, you will not be disappointed. I am definitely going to Stoke which is now the last show before Ian goes to Europe. This promises to be a great gig, so let's give him a good send off and thank him for a great tour by turning up in numbers.

Thanks for reading this, I just had to put it all into words for posterity!

Gavin Robertson