Just Another Night (DVD)

Ian Hunter

MVD, 2005

http://www.ianhunter.com

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/29/2009

If there’s anyone left out there who both remembers the great artist Ian Hunter was in the '70s, and remains skeptical that he could really have scaled those heights of impact and charisma and relevance once again in his 21st century resurgence, this DVD ought to be all the evidence required to change their minds.

This one has everything -- one of the tightest bands Hunter has ever played with, great sound, solid camera work and a setlist to die for.  Starting with the band, the backbone is the crew Hunter made the terrific Rant album with, including guitarist/co-producer Andy York, Ian Gibbons of Kinks fame on keyboards, Gus Goad on bass, and the Max Weinberg-like Steve Holley on drums.  If that wasn’t enough, Hunter and the Rant-ers are joined by old friend – and Mott The Hoople and Bad Company guitarist -- Mick Ralphs.  Watching Hunter and Ralphs tear through a batch of Mott classics – not to mention Hunter solo standards – with a crack band behind them is close to musical nirvana for the Hooplistas among us.nbtc__dv_250

Best of all, York, who so capably assumed the Mick Ronson / musical foil role in Hunter’s latter-day masterpieces Rant and Shrunken Heads, and Ralphs share the stage with more than just mutual respect – they actually feed off one another’s energy and the interplay between them and Hunter is a pure joy to behold.

Hunter breaks the crowd in easy, starting with a solo acoustic rendition of “Rest In Peace,” a somewhat obscure Mott b-side, but that’s just the set-up.  The punchline comes when the full band walks on and absolutely takes the crowd by storm with a piledriving, ferocious “Rock’n’Roll Queen.” 

The setlist is similar to 2002’s Strings Attached in several respects – opening with “Rest In Peace,” covering “A Nightingale in Berkeley Square” and including relative rarity “Saturday Gigs”-- but adds several smashing good rockers to the mix that turn the show into a considerably heavier and more footloose affair.  Even carryovers like “Twisted Steel” are aired out with a hard-rocking authority missing from the Strings versions.

The list is littered with hard-driving classics like “Once Bitten Twice Shy” and “Cleveland Rocks,” not to mention gorgeous ballads like “I Wish I Was Your Mother” and “Irene Wilde.”  But it’s the inclusion of superb semi-rarities like the impossibly intense “The Truth, The Whole Truth, Nuthin’ But The Truth” and the epic Mott ballad “The Journey” – not to mention the sheer brilliance of the band -- that takes this show first from good to great and then from great to mind-blowing.

Other highlights include wonderful takes on a pair of latter-day Hunter nuggets -- the aching autobiographical rocker “23A Swan Hill” and the Mick Ronson elegy “Michael Picasso” -- and predictably exuberant readings of Mott classics like “Roll Away The Stone,” “All The Young Dudes” and “All The Way From Memphis.”

As if that wasn’t enough, the DVD package includes a lengthy and characteristically honest interview with Hunter, as well as footage from the show’s soundcheck.  It all comes together as an unbeatable package for the discerning fan of Ian Hunter and/or Mott The Hoople.  If you consider yourself one, you either need this or, more likely, already have it.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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