Friday, October 28, 2016

Bill Wyman and The Rhythm Kings at Indigo at the O2

London. Friday 28-October-2016.

The first of two visits to the BluesFest at the O2, this in the smaller venue that is the Indigo.

The show was billed as an 80th birthday gala for Bill Wyman with a host of guests.  The first dozen or so rows were clearly marked off for VIP tickets or invited guests. We had excellent seats in the middle of the second row of the bookable seats.

The general format was each guest came on for two or three songs. Behind the stage the screen showed images of the original artist and the original 45. Almost without exception the originals were black artists which shows the depth of gratitude rhythm and blues, soul, and rock'n'roll owes to African American musicians.

Joe Brown was the first guest introduced by Bill. It was entertaining to see a real rock'n'roll survivor. He's a bit like Cliff Richard, wholesome and aged very well. Nice man.

Joe Brown

Mark Knopfler joined Joe Brown. Boy can he play guitar! The genius behind Dire Straights. His guitar playing made it look so effortless, fluid, unmistakeable. Loved it.

We were due to see Van Morrison two days later on the Sunday so this was a bonus. He was on good form.

Van Morrison

Robert Plant was one of the highlights amongst the guests - never thought I'd tick him off my bucket list. More than slightly surreal to hear him singing Let the Boogie Woogie Roll.

Robert Plant

Bob Geldof gave a speech in praise on Bill. Very touching and clearly heartfelt, the man's OK but many commenters on Bill's FaceBook page seemed to think it's ok to be rude about him, I don't hold with that.

The full list of guests. These were mostly golden oldies.
  • Joe Brown.
  • Molly Marriott - daughter of Steve Marriott.
  • Mark Knopfler
  • Andy Fairweather-Low
  • Van Morrison
  • Martin Taylor
  • Holly Stephenson
  • Bob Geldof
  • Little Steven
  • Mick Hucknall
  • Mike Sanchez
  • Imelda May
  • Robert Plant

The Telegraph gave this gig five stars and well they might, it was a superb night.
"The stage may have been filled by bald heads, grey hair and wrinkles, but close your eyes and that dirty blues remained as thrilling as ever. Great music is not just timeless, it effectively suspends time. And this was a night of really great music, played with love and style by masters of the art.

The vintage stars came out for Wyman’s 80th Birthday Gala at the O2 Indigo in London, as part of the Bluesfest. Robert Plant, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Mick Hucknall, Imelda May and Joe Brown all joined the Rhythm Kings for slick, rich, heartfelt runs through blues and soul classics." Full review...
Cracking evening.

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