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Ronnie Wood And Friends, Hammersmith Apollo June 30th

July 1, 2012

Through the years Ronnie Wood has provided backup to a wide variety of frontmen including Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger. His attempts at taking centre stage have varied from the sublime (New Barbarians) to the ridiculous (Shepherds Bush, 2001). Tonight Ronnie was the centre of attention throughout and he carried it off well, although his onstage announcements were unintelligible.

The opening number was the most interesting. Just Ronnie, a Strat and his personal history of rock’n’roll – Little Red Rooster, Mona, Boogie Chillun’, Smokestack Lightnin’.Then on came the extensive house band to walk a packed Apollo through selected highspots from the Chess catalogue, though sadly not my personal favourite Rescue Me (Fontella Bass).

The dual drummer set-up of Simon Kirke and Andy Newmark worked a treat, and although bass player Bill Wyman sounded a little ploddy his vocal on You Never Can Tell was well received. Ronnie’s lead guitar was fine throughout especially on the Chuck Berry numbers but Mick Taylor was criminally under-used and spent most of the night strumming on a stool (he had apparently hurt his foot). The exception was The Sun Is Shining where he and Ronnie played dual slide and it sounded terrific as did Don’t Lie To Me, both rocking and rolling.

Guest vocalist Sharleen Spiteri wailed effectively on I’d Rather Go Blind, Ali McKenzie from Ronnie’s first band The Birds did well with Walking By Myself and Beverly Skeete followed in some illustrious footsteps with At Last. Why James McCartney was brought on to sing the closing uptempo numbers is a total mystery – maybe his dad was busy. The finale was an ensemble version of I Just Want To Make Love To You followed by an encore of It’s Only Rock’n’Roll, both a bit routine.

The evening did well to encompass the depth of the Chess catalogue and offer a wide variety of music. It would have benefited from  Wood and Taylor having space to play off each other and if that meant we lost a guest vocalist or two it would have been a fair swap. Overall good in parts, but slightly underwhelming.

View: Stalls, Row N

Setlist

Introduction (RW solo)

Hi Heel Sneakers

My Babe

300 Pounds Of Joy

Just Your Fool

You Never Can Tell

The Sun Is Shining

Don’t Lie To Me

Walking By Myself

Tell Mama

Mojo Boogie

At Last

Spoonful

Big Town Playboy

Talk To Your Daughter

I’d Rather Go Blind

Johnny Be Goode

Carol

I Just Wanna Make Love To You

Encore:

It’s Only Rock’n’Roll

 

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