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Sheryl does
as the Romans,
and goes a roving,
It's gets a bit Gladiatorial
in St Albans, but she
still got
the Horn


Picture left - Byron enters stage-up


Re-born again in St Albans, - 10th September 2005

  Your roving reporter was a little closer to home this Saturday, checking out the band at The Horn pub in St Albans. Pleasantly surprised that the band were playing a more local venue, I dragged a friend along to see 'The' Stones band that I had been raving about.

A very different venue for the Half Moon where I usually seek musical solace, the venue was, nevertheless quite packed by the time I arrived at about 10.45pm. Struggling to get as close as possible to the front, more than one person remarked at how many tall people were up there - maybe audiences should be placed in order of height! Despite the inviting sounds of Jefferson Airplane and the Doors whilst we waited for the band to come on, there wasn't the same feeling of camaraderie that is felt at the Half Moon as incense burns and the atmosphere is pregnant with anticipation. This was a more drunken, more aggressive crowd.

The same ecstatic cheer filled the venue, however, as the band, resplendent in wigs and hippy regalia, took to the stage. Mick himself looked like he had been beamed forward from 1967, clad in white jeans and an orange tye-dye hippie top. It was the usual "Brown Sugar" that had the audience leaping around as Mick Jaguar fell into those classic Jagger poses, keeping totally in character with references to bursting a button on his trousers. "You don't want my trousers to fall down now do ya?" he quoted verbatim from "Get yer Ya Yas out". A song that was usually only toyed with previously, "Miss you" took the band beyond it's usual 1964 - 1974 time span but it went down well and showed how versatile this band can be. "Angie" was fitted in earlier than usual but this was one of the weaker numbers musically as Mick coaxed the audience into singing with him. Perhaps this would have been better later in the set (just my humble opinion, boys!) [Boys hah!, the last time Bill was referred to as a boy, Lord Kitchener was pointing out the countries needs ED]

The crowd was loud and raucous as Mick interacted and played up to the taunts. The usual applause and laughter greeted the flamboyant arrival of Byron Jones, resplendent in angel wings and psychedelic regalia and clutching a bottle of wine, rambling about tales of lap-dancing clubs. If ever Mick were upstaged, this was the moment as the band launched into "She's a rainbow" with Byron on recorder. "Ruby Tuesday" was a song I had not heard the band do before and it proved real crowd pleaser.

Unlike at the Half Moon, presumably because of time restrictions, the band took a break of about 20 minutes - an opportunity for Mick to change into a 1972 jumpsuit and jacket. It was Charlie who appeared onstage first of all, announcing on the mike that he was going to get a bit of rhythm going, as the unmistakable beat of "Sympathy" built up, followed by an unexpected highlight. The band had a real 1967 feel as they launched into "2000 light years from home", no mean feat as Mick Waylor played what I was reliably informed was a Theramin - another example of the versatility and authenticity that the band continually display. The 2nd set for me was definitely the stronger, with songs like "Little Red Rooster", "The Last Time" and "Under my thumb". It was "Satisfaction" that went down the best, sending the audience into a cavorting frenzy. At the "Half Moon" it tends to be the lesser know tracks that meet with the most applause. Maybe the time slot of 9-11pm in Putney draws fans who specifically want to see their band, while the later slot in St Albans attracts a more raucous post-pub crowd.

For "Honky Tonk Women" it was a select few women who took to the stage, unlike that masses who fill it in Putney. Those who dared certainly gave Mick a run for his money with their dancing! "Jumping Jack Flash" was seriously dangerous as the audience was almost Pogoing up and down but this was not the end as an encore starting with "Around and Around" kept everyone happy.

Different venue, different crowd but an ultimately pleasing gig with a really authentic feel and never losing the capacity to surprise and impress. Catch you somewhere else later boys!