Front Row Reviews: Mick Ronson/Hammersmith
20 March 1074
by Chrissy Hynde
WELL THE KIDS are champing at their bits tonight here in beautiful downtown Hammersmith.
Yes it's all buttons and bows and don't the youngsters look smart. Take that dapper fellow to my, right. The demure Bowie shag, gangster brimmed hat and plastic dot earrings. And why, what's this? Ah! A pink and white striped T-shirt garnished with a tasty write scarf knotted primly about the neck.
This is Ronno country. And gang, don't look now, but that dashing gentleman in the comer is the Main Man himself, Tony Defries, decked out in the height of bookie fashion, Well, this is going to be some show. The crowd is star-studded as the northern sky and sporting enough Ronno badges to make the smile button obsolete.
Lights dim. The crowd is going ape-shit with drooling anticipation. Strains of 'Slaughter On Tenth Avenue' (the original Rodgers soundtrack) resound throughout the Odeon. The stage is suddenly dotted with musicians - chick singers, brass section, same setup as the first Rainbow gig minus (whew!) the string section. The audience is hot.
Ladies and gentlemen, MaimMan proudly presents … Mick Ronson!
Like a swarm of hungry maggots they rush to the stage, to greet their hero.
Mick, the nice guy, a sporting chap. The magic is there. It's his and this time he knows it.
He walks casually to the mike and starts into Annette Peacock's 'I'm The One'. A fitting tribute to his heroine thinks I, recalling how he used to carry no less than seven copies of her LP under his arm at all times, passing 'em out like autographs.
It's good. The kids are going bananas. The band is tight and Ronson's in control this time unlike at the Rainbow gig when he looked about as lost as some wino who'd wandered in off the street.
'Pleasure Man' is wry and with every blast of brass screams are emitted. By the time he gets into 'Growing Up And I'm Fine,' eyes mist and the audience breathes a loving sigh.
Ronson's playing far more guitar this time around as well. He moves great, throwing that occasional nice guy smile into the crowd. It's his. He mounts a solitary chair, acoustic in hand, and kicks into 'Music Is Lethal'.
Nobody seems to mind his pained expression on those high notes. Well, he could fall off his stool and the kids would applaud. And why not? What with that sweet face - never losing touch with his audience, never slipping into a contrived pose.
He's not even trying to be sexy (although he is anyway). I mean, here's a guy who befriends anybody who'll give him the time of day. He doesn't have to try to do anything. Nobody, but nobody dislikes Ronson - and that's his calling card.
Intermission. Frenzy, rush to the main corridor, be seen, grab a coke., make goo-goo eyes at tonight's Bowie impersonators, go back inside and scream Ronno! at the top of your lungs. Well done, there he is. Change of costume and what lovely black leather parts you have, daddio.
Even 'Love Me Tender' is good.
'Slaughter On Tenth Avenue' gives Ronno a chance to show off. Now I must be the biggest Jeff Beck fan there ever was (well maybe second to Mick Ronson), I love the way he glorifies the master with his own unique style. Garson's piano work makes you wonder what the hell you're listening to anyway ('Hey, that ain't rock and roll. but I like it').
Good old Ronno (I hate that name). He never gets that power-crazed gleam in his eye that most rock stars thrive on. But rather a 'Gee, I'm having a good time too' look. He introduces the band. Trevor Bolder gets more applause than he's probably ever had in his life. I didn't even once hear the expected cry 'Bowie' escape from that dazed crowd. That says something.
Ronno's a smart cookie and he ain't about to leave on the laurels of his old partner. The set ends with 'The Girl Can't Help It'.
Encores include 'White Light, White Heat'. I person ally was never too keen on anybody doing renditions of that particular fave. But tonight Ronson can do not wrong.
Good one Mick. (Now aren't you glad you gave up gardening?)