So when some older bands go on tour to relive their glory days it doesn’t always turn out how you hope. Maybe the singer’s voice is shot, the musicians can’t play as well as they used to, or it just seems to be about the money. Well Ian Hunter decided to get the 1974 touring configuration of Mott the Hoople back together and except for one song in the middle of the show where the wheels came off, the show was pretty much flawless. They came to play and could still be up on stage kicking ass.
Before Mott the Hoople ’74 came on stage at the Orpheum Theatre, The Dream Syndicate played a seven song set, bring their early to mid-80’s underground rock scene to Boston. Like Mott the Hoople later, The Dream Syndicate came out with some extra energy and weren’t just going through the motions. In “Out of My Head” the band went off on a psychedelic jam that was stunning. When you think of 80’s underground rock, with the likes of R.E.M, you don’t think of jams that go off in tangents like this, but there it was, and the crowd was all in for it. Frontman Steve Wynn talked about being on this exact same stage 35 years ago and how it was nice to be able to be back, along with some new music from their reunion album in 2012. The set ended with a sprawling “The Days of Wine and Roses” that went into “Who Do You Love” and back again.
After a short break the stage went dark and Ian Hunter, along with Ariel Bender and Morgan Fisher took the stage with the rest of the band to a crowd that was standing room only, and it remained that way for the rest of the show. Ian Hunter, who turns 80 this year was in great form all evening. His voice has held up amazingly well over the years and he was moving on stage at times as if it were still the 70s. Ariel Bender was a non-stop guitar wizard during the night. His riffs, as well as energy, were a sight to behold. There are just certain riffs that you’ve known your whole life that when you get to hear them live, it just melts your soul. Morgan Fisher was truly a sight to witness all night on the piano. Morgan was also all over his side of the stage during the show, chatting with the audience, throwing his drinks around, and just looking like he was having the time of his life. To watch these legends take the energy from the crowd, and the music they were playing, and give it right back to the crowd was amazing.
The set covered their entire career. From the introduction over the PA by David Bowie into the first song of the mash up of “American Pie” and “The Golden Age of Rock and Roll” to a wild great take on “Honaloochie Boogie” to the most upbeat version of “Sweet Jane” I have ever heard that had a wild noise jam in the middle of it, the band were just on fire and exchanging smiles across the stage the whole time. Ian would joke around a little between some of the songs about how old this song is or how old, or young, some people in the crow were, but for the most part the band were non stop going from one song to the next. The set came to an end with a great “Roll Away the Stone” into “Marionette” followed by a medley of a number of their songs and covers the ended with “Violence” into “Boston Rocks.”
For the encore they played three of their biggest songs starting with “All the Way From Memphis” and continued with “(Do You Remember) The Saturday Gigs.” After a brief thank you from Ian on the song’s outro, Ariel played the one riff everyone was really waiting for and started up “All the Young Dudes.” The Dream Syndicate even came back out and helped with the chorus that was sung by Bowie as the crowd sang along to as well. Once the song finished the crowd went wild and Ian, Morgan, and Ariel came to the front of the stage to take one last bow and give thanks. This was a short quick tour by Mott the Hoople ’74, but hopefully they bring this back around as it was anything but an oldies night.
Article: Bryan Lasky