ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 7, 1988
By Steve Newton
Two nights after Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler sailed through town, on September 30, a couple more British rock greats visited. While not as widely known, Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson have a following that is just as devoted, and they gave a sell-out crowd at 86 Street a mixture of tunes old, new, borrowed (from David Bowie), and blue.
They kicked things off with the straightforward boogie of “Once Bitten Twice Shy”, then gave the crowd a taste of things to come with a few new songs–both bittersweet ballads and crunching rockers–from the album they’ll be releasing next year. From the sounds of things, it should be worth the wait.
Ronson’s anguished facial expressions looked real enough, as though his life depended on every lick he played. Either that or his underwear was way too tight. At any rate, his chunky rhythms and piercing leads proved that he’s still got some of the rowdy spark that lit up David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust periods.
The concert hit a bit of a lull when Hunter strung one too many slow tunes together, but picked up again with the hearty “Bastard” and the Mott the Hoople jewel from 1973, “All the Way from Memphis”. Hunter’s crack band pounded his tunes out with real fury, and sported a young bass player who–as promised–proved to be a virtuoso soloist in the Jaco Pastorius mold.
For the encore, Hunter and Ronson left ’em howling with a medley that included “England Rocks”, “All the Young Dudes”, “I Wish I Was Your Mother”, and “Ships in the Night”.
Read the interview I did with Hunter and Ronson before the show here.