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The Mott the Hoople Reunions 2009 and 2013

There is a coda to the Mott the Hoople story. In 2009 the band reunited – and it was the original band, with Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs, Overend Watts, Verden Allen and Dale Griffin (Buffin) – though due to ill health Buffin was accompanied by Martin Chambers, who drummed with the Pretenders.

There was a warm-up at the Blake theatre in Monmouth on 26 September, followed by 5 nights at the Hammersmith Apollo, London on 1 ,2, 3, 5 and 6 October.

In November 2013 they did it again, though by this time Buffin was unable to play. The short tour went to Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and London.
There’s a nice 2009 interview with the band here. Mick Ralphs:

"The great thing about the early Mott was the struggle. It was a bit like looking for the pot of gold: we never actually found it, and that kept us going. When we had the hit, it became, ‘Oh well – we’re a pop group now.’ I sort of lost interest. What changed? We’d found something that worked, whereas before, we were trying everything. It was more experimental in the early days: more don’t-give-a-****."​

Being in the smartphone era, both reunion tours are well documented. There are also two official double CDs from Concert Live, one from Hammersmith Apollo in 2009, and the other from Manchester 17 November 2013. The Manchester release was a "Gold Edition" which included a DVD of the entire concert. Don’t bother with the reissue that omits the DVD. It’s notable as the only complete professional Mott the Hoople concert video in existence (that I know of).

These reunion concerts are very much the old Mott with just an occasional touch of glam. The 2009 concert included classic Island-era numbers like The Journey, Original Mixed-Up Kid and The Moon Upstairs. There’s a snippet of Like a Rolling Stone, and even Keep a Knockin’.

The 2009 CD is a soundboard feed but not properly mixed; vocals are too loud or too quiet and you get what you get. However you can hear what a powerful rock band this is.

The 2013 performance is better engineered though Hunter is struggling with his voice, which is unusually gruff. The band still sounds good though.

It’s frustrating that it took until 2013 to film a Mott the Hoople concert properly. If only we had this quality for a 1970 performance. However you can play Live at Fairfield Halls Croydon and close your eyes.

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