By Dee Cooke
Andy Taylor’s first solo gig in 30 years. Talk about a highly anticipated evening! The show, at London’s 100 Club on 27 November, was sold out. Did it live up to this anticipation?
Spoiler: yes, it did.
Andy and his band certainly kept us waiting. They didn’t arrive on stage until more than two hours after the doors to the venue had opened. Once the show got going, it was worth the wait. The well-balanced and wide-ranging setlist featured a mixture of old solo material from 1987’s Thunder album, tracks from his upcoming solo album, along with few Power Station tunes, topped by a smattering of semi-covers of songs by artists Andy has been involved with (Reef, Robert Palmer, etc.)…
…and not forgetting some very surprising and welcome Duran Duran songs! Mid-set, the audience were taken aback in the absolute best of ways when Andy and co launched into a triumphant medley of ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ and ‘Wild Boys’. That was a very special moment, as it wasn’t expected at all.
The 100 Club, which I hadn’t been to previously, is a very well-designed small venue, and even if you’re at the back it still feels like the front as everyone in the audience is so close to the stage. This gave the show a real intimacy – it was just like watching a local band in the back room of a pub, except that it was Andy freaking Taylor and we were all getting to see him perform right up close!
Reef’s Gary Stringer, who features on some of the songs on the new album and so was onstage for vocal duties, is of course fantastic, but it was really lovely also to see Andy singing lead on so many of the songs. I’m a huge fan of the Thunder album and so it was those tracks that moved me the most – my absolute highlight was ‘Tremblin’’, a beautifully slowed-down version of the song that was just Andy on stage by himself. There was some discussion after the show once the band’s copies of the setlist had been procured, as the planned setlist seemed to indicate that Andy had originally also intended to incorporate ‘Save A Prayer’ into this track. However, for me, the performance of ‘Tremblin’’ absolutely stood by itself, and I don’t think it would have necessarily been improved by the incorporation of the Duran track – it was beautiful as it was.
To my surprise, the band didn’t play an awful lot of tracks off the new album – I had been expecting that the new material would comprise a good 50% or more of the set, but as it happened, there were only one or two new songs in addition to the already-released ‘Love Or Liberation’. What we did hear, however, was more varied than I expected – it seems there’s some mellower stuff on the album to complement the banging hard rock!
It was a fantastic show overall – engaging from start to finish. I, like many others, had travelled to London especially for the gig, and it was so worth the journey! I just hope we don’t have to wait another 30 years for Andy to perform his solo stuff again…