Boogie For Stu
First published March 2011
Ambassadors Theatre, London (second set)
The memory of Rolling Stones pianist Ian Stewart was honoured by a brace of shows organised by pianist Ben Waters. After an introduction by fellow-Scot Ian Rankin the diminutive stage at Ambassadors theatre managed to house three boogie woogie pianists in Ben, Axel Zwingenberger and Jools Holland. A warm welcome greeted the definitive Stones rhythm section of Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman who backed a surprisingly appropriate Mick Hucknall in understated Drown in My Own Tears. The demon guitar duo of Mick Taylor and his Stones replacement Ronnie Wood were to the fore on Worried Life Blues, a song Ronnie has been singing since the New Barbarians tour of ‘78 and it sounded fantastic. Then Bill sang You Never Can Tell, everyone joined in on Shake Rattle and Roll, Shakin’ Stevens came on for Don’t Lie to Me, Mick H again convinced on a call-and-response Bring It On Home To Me followed by a Little Queenie that really swung (have Watts, Wyman and Taylor played this together since 1971 ?) then a vintage Down The Road Apiece and an encore of Can I Get a Witness. Just as I was thinking that the riff in Witness sounded just like High Heel Sneakers the same thought occurred to someone onstage and an impromptu version was delivered. The entire group, by now a dozen strong, gathered for a group bow which Charlie almost missed because he was so busy talking to Bill. The audience loved it, the band loved it and Ian Stewart would have loved it.