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Copyright Nick Morgan and crew

Concert Review by Nick Morgan
THE ROLLIN STONED Half Moon, Putney, London, April 1st 2006
Well Serge, I have to say that it’s all looking a bit ‘soixante-huit’ in your lovely France at the moment, what with all your riots and things; you know, flying cobble stones, masked students throwing Molotov cocktails (cask-strength of course), tear gas, rubber bullets and so on. Of course back here in good Old Blighty we really prefer ‘soixante-neuf’. So that’s partly why we’ve come down to Putney to enjoy "The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Tribute Band in the World". Of course the other reason is that we had tickets to see the Rolling Stones at our great new Wemberly Stadium (ah – ‘soixante-six’, I still remember it so well) in August. But now the stadium will not be built on time – I blame the Australian contractors, revenge for taking their Ashes from them I suppose – and who knows if we will ever get to review the grand old dames of rock ‘n roll for Whiskyfun.
Let me get this straight. I really don’t get tribute bands – apart from the fact that they are so much fun, and sometimes (tonight?) a bit better than the real thing. And fascinating for someone like my now 18-year-old son, who with great bravura strides past the friendly Half Moon bouncers to the bar and buys us all vats of their very good London beer. But the place is packed – and obviously, and somewhat alarmingly, even tribute bands have stalker fans, a bit like a supermarket own label malt having a Maniac I suppose. But everyone is here to have a good time and the band do not disappoint.
Against a dark and vaguely Moroccan backdrop they took the stage promptly at nine, Charlie, Keith, Mick (Taylor), Bill, and Mick (and Nicky on the keyboards). All wearing preposterous wigs, Bill with a pair of groupie-girl panties hanging from his base, Keith smokin’ and ready to go, and (Sir) Mick pouting for England. They cracked into – I think – ‘Start me up’, but I’m no Stones fan so don’t ask me, and then played ferociously for two hours ‘till the Half Moon’s 11.00pm curfew. And what we got was for the most part classic Stones from about 1965 to 1975, with a respectful amount of humour. And of course we couldn’t have that without Brian, who joined after about half an hour, apparently dropping in from heaven with wings, sparklers, gaspers, champagne and all.
I don’t need to give you a set list, just make it up for yourself. It was a gas, gas, gas. And according to the Photographer (who IS a fan) better than the Christmas ‘Hot Licks’ thirty DVD set compilation of their last tour (and believe me I can agree, having had to watch all of it, at least three times). But ‘though I had a great time I couldn’t help wondering, “what do these people do for a day job?”.
I mean, does the wig come off and Mick just goes down to the building society where he’s an assistant manager? And why, apart from the money, would you really want to spend your Saturday nights doing this? So many questions Serge, and so few answers. But whilst you’re pondering, here’s a tribute you might like, Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited, released on April 17th, and put together I think by that bright boy of Brit pop, the not-so-young Jarvis Cocker. Now that’s what I call ‘soixante-huit’! - Nick Morgan (all photographs by Kate)

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