By Phil Ashdown.
These Christmas shows have always been a bit special as they are a more relaxed affair with both an acoustic, sit-down set followed by their full electric show. As vocalist Danny Bowes put it ‘…first of all we sit down and you all sway from side to side then we stand up and you jump up and down’
Opening with a laid back version of Serpentine to get everyone in the mood, the band are soon joined by two female backing singers and an extra keyboard player. Thunder’s forthcoming album Please Remain Seated features re-imaginings of some of their best songs, all given a total reworking and tonight we were given a taste of what to expect with Just Another Suicide, Loser and Higher Ground.
What really makes these evenings special are the band’s take on other artist’s songs which tonight featured Hall & Oats’ She’s Gone, Free’s My Brother Jake and a superb take on Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, in this first part of the evening.
After a short break Thunder returned with their full rock set. It is now that singer Bowes really comes into his own as a consumate frontman, he has such boundless energy and commands the crowd so well, controlling the tempo and the crowd’s participation, and making them laugh with his comic quips in between songs.
Tonight is not about being perfect but more to do with having fun and trying new arrangements and songs never performed before. On a couple of occasions Bowes had to re-start to reach the top notes to prove he still had it! This is not to fault his voice because it sounds superb throughout but more that the band were a little ring rusty and had only rehearsed for a couple of days.
More cover songs were played throughout the set, including Who’s Behind Blue Eyes, Small Faces’ Lazy Sunday, Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark and Golden Earring’s Radar Love. Each one being lapped up by the energetic, sold-out crowd, some of whom were wearing Santa suits, Christmas jumpers and assorted Santa hats.
After a brief break guitarist and chief songwriter Luke Morely introduced one of his favourite players onto the stage, Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham to play a blistering Jailbreak. Another guest in the form of Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor joined for The Faces’ Stay With Me and finishing off with a rousing sig-a-long for Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody as giant inflatables fill the stage and snow falls from the lighting gantry.
Thunder may not be household names, but their following is strong and it is easy to see why they continue to garner such loyal support after nearly 30 years in the business. They are the embodiment of British rock at its bluesy brilliant best.
Just Another Suicide
She’s Gone (Hall & Oates cover)
This Forgotten Town
My Brother Jake (Free cover)
Once in a Lifetime
The Chain (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Electric Stand Up
The Devil Made Me Do It
Pilot of My Dreams
Behind Blue Eyes (The Who cover)
Lazy Sunday (Small Faces cover)
Dancing in the dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)
On the Radio
Radar Love (Golden Earring cover)
Gimme Some Lovin’ (The Spencer Davis Group cover)
Until My Dying Day
Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy cover) (with Scott Gorham)
Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry cover)
Stay With Me (Faces cover) (with Andy Taylor)
Merry Xmas Everybody (Slade cover) (with Andy Taylor)
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