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The Return of The Cheaters

March 14, 2012

30th Anniversary Gig: Band On The wall, December 12th 2009

First published December 2009

The gig got off to a good start with a near empty train from Euston and a proof copy of Nick Kent’s excellent forthcoming autobiography ‘Apathy For The Devil’ – note Ian Hunter reference (I preferred the rejected ‘Dead Fop Walking’). Made it to Vinyl Exchange on Oldham Street ten minutes before they shut, just in time to score a copy of Lew Lewis’ Stiff single ‘Boogie On The Street’ – result!

The Band On The Wall has benefited from a reputed £5m refit – gone are the carpets so sodden with beer they inhibited forward movement, replaced by a welcoming ambience, a cosmopolitan selection of drinks and an excellent inhouse sound-system mixed most effectively by a nice chap called Andy.

Soundcheck ended 10 minutes before open doors at 7pm, just allowing me time to say hello to the band and put on my stage gear for the night (silver Kickers, J Geils re-union T shirt). Then onto the serious business of playing some vinyl – I assumed (rightly) that the Cheaters audience would mostly be of a similar vintage to the band and that they would know their music. This translated to quite a few shiny heads, but at least they were nodding to the tunes I played.

As Cozy Powell faded away (how come he could he nick the riff from 3rd Stone From The Sun without giving credit?) I had the great privilege of introducing the band: “For the first time in 30 years….”.

Expectations were high and the band did not disappoint. Stuart at the back, hitting the drums so damn loud. Dave stage right pulling bass rock-god poses (there was a foot on the monitor at one point). Coss stage left, goatee twinkling, lead guitar and harmonies both fully functioning. And the irrepressible Mick in the middle – neat, buttoned down and meaning business,  moving easily between Telecaster, harmonicas, lead vocals and onstage banter, some of it his own.

The band played a selection of their Greatest Hit(s). Particularly impressive was how they hit a relaxed groove from the opening ‘Baby What You Want Me To Do?” – no faffing about from these pros. Mick managed the tongue-twisting vocals at the end of ‘Diplomat’ with aplomb. ‘Drugs’ was Stewarts opportunity to take his drumsticks for a walk. ‘21st Century’ had an updated lyric that puts Micks age at 56, a slight exaggeration but it rhymes. Encores were demanded and delivered, notably a nifty medley of ‘Rescue Me / Shoorah Shoorah’.

And the sold-out crowd went wild. Punters turned up from as far away as Australia, Sweden, Norway and Romiley. There was frenzied dancing,, sing-alongs, stage invasions and onstage flashing from at least two sexes.. The band sensibly kept the set concise and the song lengths down, eschewing Mick’s lengthy crowd excursions. The result was a set that brought wide grins to all and sundry.

The bar afterwards hosted conversations of the “I haven’t seen you for 30 years” ilk and the introduction of teenage sons and daughters. So a big hello to Patsy, Bren, Gabrielle, Victoria, Carole, Lindsey, Marie, Col, John, Yvonne, Nick, Pam, Gary and Lucy – it was lovely to see you all again.

There is a multi-track of the gig and it was filmed so documentary evidence of the gig may follow. But we have our memories…

Age shall not wither them. Cheaters – You Are Rock!

Playlist – Before….

So It Goes – Nick Lowe

Back In The USA – MC5

Me And My Uncle – Fortunate Sons

Rosalie – Thin Lizzy

Get Out Of Denver – Strokes

Waterfall – Stone Roses

Hippy Hippy Shake – Swinging Blue Jeans

(I Know I’m) Losing You – Rod Stewart and the Faces

Understanding – Primal Scream with PP Arnold

Where Did Our Love Go? J. Geils Band

Little Queenie – Flamin Groovies

Stop Messin’ Round – Fleetwood Mac

Let It Rock – Rolling Stones

Rosalyn – Pretty Things

Round and Round – David Bowie

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) – REM

New York City Cops – Strokes

Hard Workin’ Man – Captain Beefheart and Jack Nitzsche

Let’s Work Together – Canned Heat

Roxette – Dr Feelgood

Train Kept A Rollin’ – Yardbirds

I Hear You Knockin’ – Dave Edmunds

Carol – Rolling Stones

(Ain’t Nothing But A House Party) – J Geils Band

Daddy Rolling Stone – The Who

Baby Please Don’t Go – Them

Scratch My Back – Fabulous Thunderbirds

Route 66 – Count Bishops

Dance With The Devil – Cozy Powell

Playlist – After

Layla (coda) – Derek and the Dominoes

First I Look At The Purse – J Geils Band

Roadhouse Blues – Doors

Run Rudolph Run – Keith Richards

I Fought The Law – Clash

They Called It Rock – Nick Lowe

Back In The USSR – Beatles

The End

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