Thursday, June 25, 2009
Ian Hunter: Live In NYC
There have been plenty of nights I refused to leave my house, regardless of how exciting the event might have sounded, simply because it was too humid out, or because the plastic coating over the aglet on my shoelaces was frayed. Simply put, it doesn't take much. I like my house. It's got music and food and beverages and my computer and TV and the Yankees and I am seconds away from my bed when I am through with it all. But nothing, not even the relentless pissing that should never pass for summer weather here in NYC, was going to stop me from heading downtown to see Ian Hunter & The Rant Band at the foot of Manhattan; Rockefeller Park in the Battery, to be exact.
Outdoor concerts are not my cup of tea (nor Ian's, we found out a bit later) Up until 6:30 PM, the sky did not look like it would cooperate for a show scheduled for 7PM. No one was ready. There was no sound check. The lawn was a soggy mess. The folding chairs on the lawn were still being unfolded. (3 separate times I had my aisle seat taken away from me by the addition of more chairs to my right. I hate that lady.) But at 7:40, Ian Hunter & his fabulous Rant Band took the stage and greeted the slightly damp crowd with "'Allo 'allo 'allo," and launched into a rocking "Once Bitten Twice Shy." 5 minutes later, the sun was beaming through the clouds and sending a perfectly placed spot right onto Hunter. It seemed as if Mother Nature had seen many Ian Hunter shows.
There were many technical difficulties during the 90 minute performance, mostly sound issues---as I said,there was no sound check---but Ian was in good spirits and his self-deprecating humor kept the band and the crowd from falling apart. "Sorry about the crackling noises, but it is much clearer and much louder where I'm standing." He also called keyboardist Andy Burton over to his side of the stage to help with his keyboards. "Are these the presets? 19 & 21? There all the way down there? I can't reach that! I'm too old to bend down."
After the opener, Hunter treated us to a few of his tributes to NY, "Central Park N' West" and "Souls Of America." He played songs from his last few records, the killer "Rant" from 2001 and the equally amazing "Shrunken Heads" from 2007, as well a few, including the brilliant title track from "Man Overboard" due on July 21st. Of course there were some Mott The Hoople classics such as "Roll Away The Stone," "Saturday Gigs," "All The Way From Memphis," Sweet Angeline" and the closer "All The Young Dudes," with a guest appearance by Joe Elliott of Def Leppard.
Yesterday was Ian Hunter's birthday. He turned 70. And just after he thanked the crowd for our company, he said, "Home. Slippers. Bed," which I'm guessing is the new "Sex, drugs and rock and roll." At 70 years old Ian Hunter rocked NY the way only a legend can. I am very pleased with myself for not bagging it due the weather. It was a great night of music, followed by "Home. Slippers. Bed."